Memorizing a chapter of the Bible a month might have been a little optimistic for a New Year’s goal. I knew how to memorize Scripture but, four days into the project, I was already behind. The problem wasn’t my understanding of the technique nor my ability. It was my reliability. Every morning, I reviewed my verses and made a stab at memorizing them. I quoted them a few times throughout the day.

The importance of soaking in truth

What I didn’t do was soak in their truth, and that’s why they didn’t “stick.” One morning, I reviewed the first twelve verses of John 1.  The second time I read them through, the third verse came alive.

“All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3) nasb

All things.

Does all mean all?

The image of barbed wire instantly popped into my head. Yeah. I know it was odd. Barbed wire? Does Jesus even care about barbed wire???  I pondered that question a moment and read the verse again. If all things came into being by Him, and Scripture says it did, does that mean barbed wire came into being by Jesus? I guess it does. (He made the person who invented it, of course, as well as the mind out of which the invention came.)

Barbed wire was on my mind about that time because I was building a fence but hadn’t quite finished it. Does Jesus care about the fencing wire so prevalent in the Southern U.S.? Yes, in multiple ways. He cares about the people who build the fences and stretch the wire. He cares about the animals for whom those sharp barbs provide security and protection, too.

Did Jesus die for barbed wire? No, but He knows about it.

Does Jesus care about my concerns?

The second thing that came into mind was trouble in the Middle East. My heart broke over recent governmental decisions there. I prayed at length about the situation and begged everyone who’d listen to join me in intercession. Occasionally, my prayers sounded a little accusatory, as if God overlooked the events that gave me such pause.

“What about there, Lord? It’s a mess right now,” I asked. (Okay. I kinda demanded.)

All things.

Those two simple words resonated in my heart. Governments are established by God and have their authority with the permission of God. (Romans 13:1) He moves the heart of the king like channels of water. (Prov 21:1)

He knows.

God knows about the corruption in the government, the crack-down on religious freedom, and the persecution of believers. He knows about my friends who had to flee for their lives.

Nothing escapes his notice. Nothing will be wasted.

It wasn’t the answer I wanted. My desire was for God to roll up His sleeves and wade into the battle. I wanted God to do things MY way, instead of His own. It’s a problem as old as creation.

We want our way instead of His.

Nevertheless

My barbed wire pondering led, in a roundabout way, to “nevertheless” about a few things. “Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)

The simple act of surrender to His will instead of mine brought me to the place I needed to be with Scripture memory and the verses came alive. “The light shined in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it” made perfect sense. None of the efforts of believers were wasted in the painful place of persecution. Light shined, but the darkness didn’t comprehend, exactly as John 1 said.

The importance of Scripture memory is not in the act of repeating words until we can say them by rote. The value comes when we allow the Word of God to invade our hearts, reveal truth to us, and change us. 

Three easy steps to help memorize Scripture:

Do you want to memorize Scripture? Do you want the Word of God to come alive for you? If we “hide it in our hearts” and nurture it as we would seed in our garden, His Word will grow into full-grown beauty in our lives and make us more like Jesus than ever before. Don’t strive to gather a bunch of words. Strive for truth that transforms.

  1. PLANT: Don’t tackle an entire passage at once. Choose one verse at a time and marinate in it. Repeat it throughout the day. Try writing it out several times to increase familiarity.
  2. WATER: Study the verse. Look up commentary on the passage.
  3. LIGHT: Ask God to help you understand and know its truth. Allow it to invade your heart and life until the truth becomes a part of you.

When you “know” the verse because you’ve lived it, move to the next verse. Don’t rush. Allow God’s word to do its powerful work in your heart.

“Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” Luke 22:42

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16

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How to Memorize Scripture

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Will We Make Room for God in Our Lives?

How to Trust God in Hard Times

Repentance: It’s Not Optional

On Being Beloved

Daffodils: Harbingers of Hope 

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How to Memorize Scripture

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