What is a Big Mac?
My kids love to ask that question every time we go to McDonalds and I always respond with,
"Two all beef patties,
on a sesame seed bun!"
For some reason this old jingle causes my little ones to break out in giggles and my teenagers to roll their eyes and frantically look around in embarrassment to make sure no one overheard me. I have no idea when I first memorized the detailed description of a Big Mac but for some reason it is permenantly tatooed on my brain.
Recently the thought occurred to me, "how much useless trivia are we storing in our memory banks?" We can rattle off things like advertising slogans, TV theme songs (think of The Flinstones & The Brady Bunch), stories and poems we have read or quotes from famous movies. So why is it so easy to remember the lyrics to my favorite songs and yet so hard to remember scripture?
Although I know that memorizing scripture is important for spiritual health, growth and well-being I have to be honest and admit that it is not easy or natural for me.
In fact many people might question the need for committing scripture to memory in a culture where the word of God is readily available in a variety of formats and translations. We can read the bible in book form, listen to it on CD, watch it on DVD or pull it up on the internet. A quick look at Bible Gateway gave me access to over 20 translations in English alone! We truly are a blessed people.
However it is possible that someday there may be a time we don't have access to our bibles. In such case we need to already have buried the words of the Lord deep into our hearts.
Because it is in those words we will find the strength to stand strong in the face of fear:
"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." Psalm 27:3
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Knowing God's word brings us peace in the midst of our trouble and anxiety:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God; and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4: 7-8
Having the word of God committed to our memory also allows us to fight the enemy and experience victory over sin:
"How can a young man keep his way pure: By living according to your Word. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119: 9, 11
We may not have the opportunity to reach for our bibles as we are experiencing an attack or facing temptation but if we are prepared with the sword of the Spirit we will be armed and ready to fight back.
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any doouble-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Another practical reason for memorizing scripture is to aid us in discerning the will of God in our lives as the Holy Spirit brings to mind words we already know:
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33
In order to be effective Christ followers it is important that we are able to recall the word of the Lord in order to comfort and encourage those around us. ~Many times I have been able to offer a timely scripture to my hurting child just like I might apply a band-aid to their skinned knee.~
On the other hand knowing God's word is essential for our witness to others:
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15
And that hope is the final reason we need to have scripture seared into our memory:
"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5
Hope for today, hope for a future and best of all hope to overcome. Jesus described that hope in John 16:33:
"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33