Committing to Memory
When I was in college, I had a professor who often spoke on the importance of memorizing Scripture. In fact, he would give us one or two verses or passages a week, depending on the length, and we would have to write them out verbatim by the next time that class met. As weeks passed we were not only to provide an account of that week’s passage, but also every single one since the start of the semester. I enjoyed the challenge then and even appreciate it now, many years later. I admired this professor not only because he was humble and had so much wisdom to teach, but also his dedication to the Word. He explained to us that he had an hour-long commute back and forth to teach, and during that commute he would listen to books of the bible on tape to help commit His Word to memory. In fact, he could recite entire books of the bible without a stammer!
So, in a culture where the bible is so easily accessible, why bother with memorizing it???
Well, at the time, this was my question.
My professor explained that, like Jesus, he believed that we should be able to back up what we say with Scripture and be able to answer people’s questions should they arise (1 Peter 3:15), which is one of our responsibilities towards receiving maturity in Christ.
He also said that whether he is experiencing a season of joy, thanksgiving, trial, confusion, or suffering, he wanted to always be able to point back to God’s Word. At the time, I did not think much of this; don’t get me wrong, I thought it was awesome and something to attain, but did not give it much thought…
Not until I became a counselor.
As a counselor I strive to understand the mind that God has created and how sin and brokenness has affected it.
Running throughout the brain is a complex system of nerves that fire impulses back and forth along specific pathways that tell your body what to do, how to feel, and what to think. Throughout our lifetimes, our brain develops specific pathways as we adapt and evolve throughout our life. Our memories, stress, experiences, and even diet and exercise shape and mold these pathways, whether they be positive or negative. These bridges are formed as a sort of method for the brain to operate more efficiently. The brain does this for survival. Since the fall, our brains have become imperfect, which is why people have naturally-occurring problems such as bipolar disorder, autism, lean more towards anxiety or depression and so on. Our brains aren’t producing the right amount of a certain hormone or development was inhibited in some way, just like someone with Type I diabetes not producing enough insulin. And then there are negative experiences resulting from our broken and imperfect world that shape our brain development, such as abuse or chronic stress. Nevertheless, God created the brain so that it is hardwired for healing and survival, and isn’t that just awesome?!
The brain has what is called neuroplasticity, which basically refers to the brain’s capability to repair and strengthen itself.
This neurobiological imperative only proves my college professor’s hypothesis. If we memorize scripture and God’s promises for our life—His nature, His wisdom, and His goodness— our brains will be rerouted to this way of thinking over time, so that eventually, when times of trial strike, our brain will send new automatic impulses to these newly developed pathways causing our first reaction to be to focus on God’s Word, helping us better cope with them. And through times of triumph, we can rejoice in thankfulness as we meditate on all that God has done. And through times of weakness and temptation, we can revert back to His divine wisdom to help us endure.
In a world where so many variables are trying to teach and cause us to sway from the truth, if our minds are rooted in the Word, we will not only be able to respond in wisdom, but also live a more fulfilling life in Christ, growing into more spiritual intimacy and maturity.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
March 11, 2019