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January 17, 2021 | Chris Baselice
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“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”—Psalm 119:11 (NIV)
What’s the point of memorizing Scripture? In today’s verse, the Hebrew word for “hidden” is ṣāp̄antî, which means “to store up; to store up as one does with treasure; to hoard, cache, or reserve.” When you think of this word, think of squirrels, beavers, blue jays, or ravens who store up food for the winter.
Think about how people went and bought tons of toilet paper and hand sanitizer when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the lockdowns began. The idea being to store up something extremely valuable for when a need arises, kind of like when people put money into a savings account or retirement fund.
When we memorize Scripture, we’re not just memorizing words from a book, we’re inscribing the living, active, searching, and sanctifying voice of our Redeemer directly into our soul. We’re preserving the greatest treasure in the world in the vault of our minds and storing up what Peter called the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68 NIV) in our hearts.
Memorizing Scripture is an exercise in storing up an arsenal of weapons for the Spirit’s use. It gives the Holy Spirit fuel to recall truth in moments of need and ministry. It prepares us to fight sin, to offer counseling, and to share the gospel . . . but it goes beyond that.
You see, when we memorize Scripture, we’re not just storing up holy food for tomorrow, we’re also learning to identify the voice of our Good Shepherd for today. Jesus said in John 10:27 (NIV), “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Do you want to learn to recognize the voice of Jesus in your life so you can follow Him closely? Embrace Scripture memorization! Very few things will be more effective in remaking and remolding your mind as this practice. It recalibrates your thought processes; like clay, it remolds your mind to mimic the mind of God. It’s how the Spirit gives you the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 2:5, 4:7) here and now!
Earlier, I likened the idea of hiding His Word in our heart to a savings account. But in reality, the amazing thing about memorizing Scripture is that it’s literally like making a big deposit into our savings and checking accounts! It doesn’t just store up treasure for the future, it makes massive riches available to us today.
When you memorize His Word, in moments when you least expect it—like while you’re having a conversation with a struggling friend, when you’re seeking confirmation, or when you’re sharing the gospel with someone—the Holy Spirit will bring to mind what is hidden in your heart! So, if you’ve never really adopted this practice, there’s no better time to start than this week!
PAUSE: Why is Scripture memorization such a vital practice for every believer?
PRACTICE: Starting this Sunday, choose a verse to memorize. Write it down on a piece of paper or index card and place it somewhere you’re going to see it a lot—the fridge, your nightstand, your desk at work, etc.—and read it every time you pass by it. Say it out loud at least three times per week. Here are a few passages you can choose from to get started in this habit . . . Mark 10:45, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:28–39, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 2 Corinthians 8:9, 1 Timothy 1:15, 1 John 4:10, Revelation 5:9, Psalm 23, Matthew 28:18–20, Colossians 1:15–20, Philippians 3:7–11, Galatians 5:22–23, Numbers 6:24–26, Jude 24–25. The more you get into the habit, the easier this will be!
PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for the living and active Word that reveals truth and changes lives. I pray that as I seek to hide it in my heart, as I seek to read it, study it, meditate on it, and memorize it, that You will work in and through me and use all that Your Word reveals to bring about fruit in my life and the lives of those around me. Spirit, make me attentive and attuned to Your leading and Your usage of the living Word in my heart and mind. Amen.