Be careful what you commit to memory…

“Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and him alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but that he is actively present in our lives – healing, teaching, and guiding – we need to set aside a time and a space to give him our undivided attention…”

-Henri Nouwen

I have been a bit busy lately.

Actually I have felt a bit out of step.

My recovery time from surgery although necessary has made me feel like life left me behind…just a couple weeks can make a huge difference.

I have also had some fun commitments that have occupied my days and led to late nights.

All that to say that the snooze button on my alarm will soon beg for mercy.

My morning time with the Lord has been usurped by the fork lift that gets me out of bed and quiet times seem to happen later and later in the day.

I don’t like that…not one bit.

There was a time that it made me feel like I had been a bad girl…that God would be mad at me.

Today…it just makes me sad…and it probably makes those around me sad or mad because of how desperataely I NEED His touch each morning.  I need to wake up in His Word and walk forth into the day having spent time in His Presence…don’t you agree?  Your agreement can be either that I need time with Him or that you do as well…I won’t be mad if you just say it’s ME that is in need.

So I offer you my failings this past week…not having a lot of time to linger with the Lord…not able to keep up past midweek in my daily readings…a casual glance at my index cards on my night table with my memorization scriptures for October and then rolling over and going to sleep…neglected cards…not so neglected alarm clock.

This afternoon I discovered some unanticipated time…so I grabbed my cards and a seat on my couch and I got busy.

New thought:  Maybe I wasn’t so busy…maybe I realized that memorizing God’s Word is dangerous.

I am endeavoring to memorize Romans 12 as I shared here as a part of Ann Kroeker’s Mega Memorization Month.

I would venture that over the course of a given year that I might read this chapter once or twice.  There may be other times where I would read a verse or two randomly or it could be something I might hear in a sermon or teaching. 

Memorizing requires repeating the verses over and over and over again…of course.  By the end of this, I could not tell you how many times I will have recited this amazing chapter.  I repeat…memorizing God’s Word is dangerous.

It is often said that you can’t do what you don’t know.  It is a foregone conclusion that once we know something we are responsible to do it. 

After spending time in Romans 12, I can no longer say that I don’t know that:

  • I should offer my body as a living sacrifice (in view of God’s mercy).
    [Lord, help me to lay down my life each and every day]
  • I should no longer conform to the pattern of this world.
    [Lord, show me where I copy the world’s way]
  • I should not think of myself more highly than I ought.
    [Where do I think that I am all that, Lord?]
  • We all have different gifts.
    [Do I know my gifts?  Am I using them for Your glory?  Do I envy others giftings?]
  • I should hate what is evil.
    [Do I hate what You hate?]
  • I should cling to what is good.
    [Help me to grab  hold of all that is good]
  • Love must be sincere.
    [Am I loving in a sincere way or do I have motives?]
  • I should be devoted to others in brotherly love.
    [Am I devoted to others in love even when I get hurt or irritated or have a different opinion?]
  • I should honor others above myself.
    [Is my heart set on seeking honor for myself that I overlook others?]
  • I should never be lacking in zeal or spiritual fervor as I serve the Lord.
    [Is my energy for the Lord dependent on my circumstances instead of in the character of the Lord?]
  • I should be joyful in hope.
    [Does joy mark my life as I look to the future in hope?]
  • I should be patient in affliction.
    [Can I wait for the Lord in the midst of my pain?]
  • I should be faithful in prayer.
    [Do I give up too early or easily in prayer?]
  • I should share with God’s people who are in need.
    [Do I see those in need and am willing to extend a hand of help?]
  • I should practice hospitality.
    [Is my life an open door?]
  • I should bless those who persecute me and not curse.
    [Lord, help me to be like You who was able to bless instead of curse those that hurt You]
  • I should rejoice with those who rejoice.
    [Am I truly joyous with those who experience joy as if it were my own joy?]
  • I should mourn with those who mourn.
    [Do my tears fall freely with those who have known loss?]
  • I should live in harmony with others.
    [Help me to practice peace within my walls and without?]
  • I should not be proud and unwilling to associate with people in low positions.
    [Do I concern myself with my position in life and others?]
  • I should not be conceited.
    [Lord, it is easy to see conceit in others…help me to see it in myself]
  • I should not repay evil with evil.
    [Do I plot revenge even if it is “just” in my mind?]
  • I should do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
    [Lord, help me to live a life that is righteous…above reproach.]
  • I should live at peace with everyone.
    [Even if it is hard…help me Lord to seek to live a peaceful existence with others]
  • I should not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    [Your Word says it so I believe it…I can live in evil times and not be overcome by it…in fact,
    I can in Your power overcome it by living a life that is filled with good]

Whew…this is righteous living at its finest…a life that is set apart by and for the Lord…a snapshot of what the people of God should look like.  I believe that I could read or recite Romans 12 everyday for the rest of my days and I would not cease to be challenged.

Memorizing is a dangerous pursuit indeed but not knowing God’s Word is even more dangerous. 

Will you enter the danger zone with me?

****Progress Report:  I have memorized the first 9 verses…I have a few words that I seem to interchange…faith and grace…today Courtney held the cards while I recited them…good way to let the Word slide into her as well.

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One thought on “Be careful what you commit to memory…

  1. Powerful post demonstrating the impact of memory work. Wow. I love how you broke it down.

    I’ve done the same as you, asking my kids to hold the cards and check me. Even my youngest would engage with what we were doing. One time he came over and put his hand on my shoulder while I recited. He listened and nodded, following along with what I was saying (not reading the cards; just listening while an older sister checked for accuracy). When I was done, he didn’t say anything. He just stepped away and went back to playing.

    I think this MMM month has made an impact on them as they have stuck with their AWANA memory work more faithfully than in the past.

    So glad to share this with you!

    Like

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