Well-Watered Women, Part 7: Memorize The Word
Today we are going to continue our series on becoming “Well Watered Women” who love God’s Word more than this world. We will focus on the spiritual discipline on memorizing Scripture and meditating on the Word of God morning, afternoon, and evening as we see in Scripture. If you are new to the series, catch up on the previous posts here.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statues; I will not forget your word.” Psalm 119:15-16
The moment your alarm went off this morning, you started thinking and making decisions. The first one would be to actually turn the alarm off, move from the cozy covers, and plant your feet on the floor to start your day. We are constantly thinking, making decisions, and meditating on something. The wheels in our minds are constantly turning, churning, mulling, dreaming, deciding, making conclusions, worrying, praising, and so on. My husband occasionally catches me off guard and asks me what I am thinking when he can tell I am distracted or am concentrating. Usually I sit for a second trying to decipher all the thoughts that were running through my head! Our minds are constantly busy directing our steps.
What we put into our heads is incredibly vital to life. Years ago, there was a commercial on TV that illustrated the saying “you are what you eat.” There were people walking around wearing a giant donut in the office to emphasize that the food we eat matters to our body. In the same way, you are what you think and what you put into your mind. Marcus Aerulius once said “Your life is what your thoughts make it.” Our thoughts produce fruit in our life. They are the seeds to our actions. Therefore, what we put into our mind has a profound affect on how we live our life. This is why meditating on Scripture and memorizing the alive words of God are vital to our life as believers.
The concept of “meditating” on the Word of God is mentioned over 20 times in Scripture. Throughout the Psalms, and more specifically in Psalm 119, the Psalmists lovingly and passionately describe an intense yearning to meditate on Scripture. Psalm 19:7-10 gives us an incredible glimpse into the matchless worth of the word of God. David explains with deep conviction the value of God’s Word to our life in these verses:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eye, the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much find gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (emphasis mine)
David goes so far to say that the Word of God is of more value than gold, a priceless possession on this earth! There are no other words that compare to the Word of God. There is no other truth that has the power to change our lives. There is no other book that is “living and active” other than the Bible. With that said, my heart has been asking this question: why do our Bibles sit on our shelves? Why do we spend so little time memorizing and meditating on God’s Word? We need to see with our own eyes as the Psalmists did in Psalm 119 that the law of the Lord is perfect, right, admirable, worthy of our thoughts, to be treasured above all things, and to be loved more than this world. We think about the things we value, therefore, we must see Scripture as the most valuable treasure we could ever have on this earth!
Activity Trumps Excuse
There are several excuses we use to justify why we don't memorize Scripture. One of the first is that we don’t have the time. Our schedules are filled to the brim, our planners overflowing, and our days have little time to rest and refresh. However, we do find time to spend on social media, shop for a new outfit, and watch our favorite TV show. In examining my own days, I have realized that I have more time than I think I do! There is not only time to memorize God's Word, but there is actually time to let it sink deep! This comes when we bring Scripture into our routine and revolve our days around knowing Jesus. Another excuse we make is that we “can’t memorize” large portions of Scripture or remember it. The other day someone asked me what one of my favorite songs from the 90’s was. Without a second to even think, I responded (without shame) that I could still say all the lyrics to “Bye, Bye, Bye.” I haven’t heard this song in a decade, but when the tune comes on, I can immediately starting singing the lyrics I stored away in my heart from listening to this song on repeat as a teenager. We remember what we think about. We can memorize.
Think for a second about songs your mother sang over you as a child. Think about the poem you had to memorize in high school. Think about the quote you memorized the other day. We can memorize.God created the brain with the amazing capacity to memorize. Let’s choose to memorize words that are life-changing and lasting! In Luke 6:45, Jesus tells us that “the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” The treasure in our heart is what flows forth from our mouths.What we think on is what we speak and what we live. Just as we saw above, David described God’s Word as an infinite treasure in Psalm 19:15. The Word of God is the treasure we should store up in our hearts.
In college, I decided to run a half marathon. Before you think of me as a runner, I have to clear the air and let you know that I couldn’t even run a mile, much less 13.1 miles. My roommate was a runner and after watching her faithfully run each day, I decided I could run, too. It took about 6 months of grueling training for me to actually run a race. The temptation was always present to say “I am not a runner” and quit. But I had already paid a fee for the race and set my heart on the race. Activity trumps excuse. Small steps make a difference in the long run! The same is with memorizing Scripture. Activity trumps excuse. One verse at a time has the power to produce eternal change in our lives! Today is the day to start!
Think On This
Earlier this year I heard Janet Pope share on Revive Our Hearts podcast that she has memorized over 100 chapters of Scripture. I loved how she described the process of becoming a woman who meditates on Scripture and memorizes it, “It took me months and months—probably about six months—but I worked on it every single minute of every day and night. I found that even though I had no extra time slots in my day, I could memorize while I was doing other things. So I included Scripture memory in my morning routine—getting in the shower, blow-drying my hair, putting on makeup and clothes.” She describes that she was “redeeming the time” by meditating on God’s Word. She chose to incorporate Scriture into her daily life. Instead of just reading it for a few minutes in the morning, she chose to take the Psalmists posture and meditate on the law of God all the day (Psalm 119:97).
The Word of God benefits our life. It is our life. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 to think on what is good, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Why? The answer is found in verse 9 - “practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Meditating and memorizing the Word of God has infinitely great promises attached to it! Psalm 119:9-11 tells us that we keep from sinning by guarding our ways according to Word of God. Psalm 119:105 also tells us that the Bible is a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word is our direction, our life, our light in the darkness, and our hope. The benefits of memorizing Scritprue are incomparable. In knowing God’s Word, we know Christ. That is why we meditate and memorize!
In college, I battled an eating disorder. The only way that I was able to break free from the stronghold was to memorize the Word of God to replace the lies that Satan had etched into my heart. I carried Scripture cards with me everywhere - on the bus, in class, on the exercise bike, in my car. These words of life were the agents of my freedom. God used His Word to break the chains and write truth on my heart! Scripture is the pathway to our freedom. I still have these notecards and treasure them.
Meditate: (verb) mental exercise
Let’s get practical. We have trumped our excuses and seen the value in memorizing Scriputre, but you may still be asking how? How do we memorize chunks of Scriputre? You may even be a little nervous thinking about the task! Let’s look at it a different way. John 1:1-3 tells us that the Word was in the beginning of creation and that Jesus is the Word of God. Therefore, by memorizing God’s Word, we are knowing Jesus more. That makes my heart beat fast! We long to know Jesus intimately, therefore we must treasure the Word and know it to know Him more!
Below are a few ways to practically incorporate Scripture into your days:
- Add Scripture to your daily routine - What do you do everyday? For me, I brush my teeth and get ready, drink a cup of coffee, do the laundry, work in my office, and cook dinner. I am adding Scripture cards in all of these places to look at as I go throughout the day.
- Write it down - Over and over. We retain what we write. It has been years since I have been in school and I often forget the power of writing things down. Write it down in your journal, on a notecard, in your planner, on your mirror (you can use dry erase marker), and anywhere else you are daily. In high school, my Bible teacher made us memorize a verse a week. We were required to write it down five times. I still know these verse to this day!
- Bring it with you - Carry Scripture with you everywhere! There are apps on your phone that aid in memorizing Scripture. One resource I recommend using is The Verses Project. They create music and backgrounds to help you memorize chunks of Scripture. I used this to memorize Psalm 103 this past fall. I also memorize Scripture when I exercise. Currently in pregnancy I have been walking a few days a week and either take notecards with me or use the Bible app on my phone. Exercising and memorizing helps me retain what I am learning! (and for all you women who love to multitask, it allows you to do two things at once!)
- Say it out loud - Romans 10:17 says “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Saying Scripture out loud makes it sink deep into our hearts AND builds our faith. Say it loud when you are alone, or to a spouse, a friend, or even your children.
- Have accountability - Memorize with a friend! Last spring a mentor of mine challenged me to memorize Psalm 19 and Isaiah 55. We memorized together and I still know these chapters. They have become sweet words of life to my heart!
I long for our hearts to be filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit and for our lives to produce a harvest for the Kingdom of God. I believe that filling our minds, thoughts, and souls with God’s Word is the beginning of God doing a powerful work in our lives.
I would love to hear what your are going to memorize! Let’s keep each other accountable to know God’s Word!
Below are a few resources and blog posts I found that have been encouraging and have more wisdom on memorizing Scripture:
- Meditate On The Word Of The Lord Day And Night (John Piper)
- How Busy People Can Memorize Scripture (Revive Our Hearts)
- Why Memorize Scripture? (Desiring God)
- The Verses Project
- Be Still And Know Romans 12:9-21 Memory Book - This is a tool I created last fall to help us break down Scripture, meditate on it, and memorize it. You can purchase the study here! We are also working on another tool for memorizing Scripture that will come out in May! Be on the lookout for this new tool!