I’m tired. December was a month of abundant activity but now I have the holiday hangover. Maybe it’s the sugar comma, the extra pounds, or the dreary pewter skies. Before the holidays, I was poring over the Christmas story, attending Christmas events and marveled again at Jesus’ birth. But somewhere between Christmas and New Year’s I took a break from all the studying and fed myself scraps of His word where before I was feasting. Now, I’m running on empty.
I know many of you have already launched your New Year’s resolution with great gusto, but I’ll be honest, I’m starting mine with great trepidation.
Before the new year even approached, I knew God was calling me to do something hard in 2018. I don’t mean bungie jumping off a bridge or skydiving, but rather a God-thing. Something I couldn’t muster on my own strength. Something that seemed ridiculously impossible. Something I knew would not be my idea but God’s. So, when Beth Moore challenged her Twitter followers to memorize the book of Galatians in 2018, (Yes, you read “book” not a chapter or a verse but all six chapters!), I committed.
Now that the calendar has flipped and January 2018 is staring me in the face, I’m wondering what the heck I signed up for. Doubt is screaming at me. You can’t do it. What makes you think you can memorize a book of the Bible? You won’t even make it to February.
Yet, I created my memorization schedule, invited some friends along for the ride, and committed on Moore’s Facebook page. Now, I need to do it–the hard thing I know God wants me to do. The hard thing God put in my path to do. The hard thing I cannot do with my own puny brain but will need God’s help every step of the way.
I know memorizing scripture is a spiritual discipline. I know we should hide God’s word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). Yet, I’m no Beth Moore or John Piper.
But God reminds me I have the same Spirit in me that God gave them.
“I have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, ESV).
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26, NIV).
I remind myself of the benefits of memorizing scripture from Chuck Swindoll’s book, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life:
“I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture… No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.”
Any one of these benefits should get my heart a-pumping. I want all of these, but I know it will take hard work. It will take perseverance and endurance all the way into December. See, that’s where the fear and trepidation comes in. Do I have what it takes to go the whole distance? New Year’s resolutions have a pitifully low success rate. So, I’m not calling this a New Year’s resolution, but a joint resolution between me and God.
If we want to be Jesus followers, we need to get serious about our walk. Maybe it’s not memorizing scripture for you but rather reading through the Bible or giving money to church this year. But if you feel God is prompting you to hide His word in your heart, don’t look at the largeness of the task for He will help you.
Here are a few items to help the process of memorizing scripture Moore shared on the Living Proof Ministries with Beth Moore Facebook page:
- Decide on the passages and version you will memorize.
- Set an end date.
- Read the passage several times before memorizing.
- Find an accountability partner.
- Enjoy the process.
- Recite the verses aloud.
- Ask God to enable you and give you a love for the scriptures.
- Interact with God while memorizing.
I leave you with one more quote from Charles Spurgeon you (and definitely I) may need down the calendar, “By perseverance, the snail reached the ark.”
Let’s persevere, friends, in whatever hard thing God has called us to do this year.
What hard God-thing are you doing this year?