Don't Just Memorize Scripture
I grew up around AWANA kids who knew the Bible front and back. Study leaders, youth pastors, and mentors all told me to do the same. They all said it as if my life were dependent on it.
But, much like math rules, I wasn't interested in memorizing stuff unless it was going to be on a test.
When I got a bad concussion near the beginning of college, I found myself unable to memorize information like before. And when I started going to Bible studies with the Navigators, I realized everyone around me was memorizing one, two, even three verses every week. Every. Week! I just couldn't--and still can't--keep up with that speed.
For a while, I wasn't interested in even trying. I'm at a disadvantage, and memorizing words doesn't really interest me anyway. It doesn't mean you believe those words. It doesn't mean you're living them out. It just means you have a better memory than I do.
I don't see a point to memorizing the Bible. Let me rephrase that. I don't see a point to memorizing empty words on a page just for the satisfaction of being able to recite them.
But when I'm in the middle of an anxiety attack and Philippians 4:6-8 starts playing through my mind automatically, things change. When I'm unable to sleep due to fear and I remember Psalm 121, it becomes more than words. When comforting a friend who can't understand why a death in the family or a really bad breakup happened, and I remember 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, the Bible becomes more than stories.
It becomes my life.
And if I didn't have those words on my heart, like Psalm 119:11 encourages, I might fall into a trap. I might misquote the God of the Universe. I might begin to believe that the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth.
The other night, I had a pretty not-fun anxiety attack. But the cool thing was, though I felt like I was being swallowed up, I didn't have to wonder where God was. I didn't have to wonder what He says about anxiety. I knew, because I remembered His words. His words.
That's what happens when when you go past memorizing. Past monotonous words and memorizing their sequence. Past the head knowledge. Something deeper, to the heart of the believer.
Words do us no good if they're rattled off without a thought.
But the Words of Life that come straight from The Way, The Truth, and The Life, they're worthwhile. They're more than words, when we let them sink into our hearts.
And from there, they can change our lives.
So, don't memorize scripture. Breathe it in, soak it up, let the words of truth wash over you. Let the words sink deep into your heart, mind, and soul. Get to know God through them. I can guarantee your life won't be the same.