Memorizing the Mind of God- The Word Works Series

There’s always something to learn on Michele’s blog Living Our Days because Michele is a true learner. Writing frequent book reviews, commentary on Bible studies, and posts on lessons she’s learning, Michele is a sit-at-His-feet writer. Eager to plop down and dig in with her today!
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“I want to keep it handy in case I need it,” she said, matter-of-factly.

She wasn’t talking about a flashlight.

Not a package of tissues.

Not a cell phone – they hadn’t been invented in 1978.

She was talking about Isaiah 55.

I liked it,” she went on.  “So I memorized it.”

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

The words poured from her lips, because they were, indeed, handy, and although the pale yellow V.W. Rabbit continued on its way south down Route 1, I had been stopped in my tracks at the miracle of memorization.  My friend had captured for herself the treasure of thirteen verses of exquisite beauty and stunning promises — mountains and hills bursting into song and trees clapping their hands – all for the LORD’s glory and renown.

There is no way she could have known that my view of Scripture would be forever changed on that bumpy pot-holed ride, for I saw clearly that, in my friend’s mind, the Words of God were a banquet — all delightful — and she would have devoured them all given the time and opportunity.      

I decided to start in the Psalms, words of praise to fill a mouth that was unpracticed in the exaltation of a majestic God.  I knew that I was supposed to “appreciate His attributes” and “thank Him for His blessings” in prayer, but a dusty list of multi-syllabic theological adjectives caught in my throat and felt forced, unnatural.  However, borrowing the words of Psalm 103, thanksgiving pours from my heart even today, because God:

“. . . forgives all my iniquities, heals all my diseases, redeems my life from destruction, crowns me with loving kindness and tender mercies and satisfies my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s”

Tired and empty, I find that Psalm 63 frames my soul’s thirst “in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, to see [His] power and His glory. . .  because His lovingkindness is better than life.”

This is more than just having good theology or thinking God’s thoughts after Him.  Memorizing Scripture forces the mind to turn over the words, to consider their order, to linger over their meaning, and to recognize patterns and parallels.  This is allowing Truth to change the folds and creases of my gray matter so that my every thought is impacted.  Could this be what my wayward heart needs in order to stand with Paul in “bring[ing] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ?” (II Corinthians 10:5)

When I go for a walk, it is not unusual for me to carry a few 3×5 cards in my pocket so that I can review verses that I am working on, because even my pocket isn’t near enough when my thoughts need adjusting, when my outlaw heart starts hammering itself an idol out of scraps and trinkets, or when I hear the hiss of lies about the basis of God’s love for me.  When this happens, the Truth that holds me in the faith is a reset button to “set my mind” on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5), on things above (Colossians 3:2).

Like any spiritual discipline, memorization creates space in my life for God. It heightens my awareness of His scandalous grace, deepens my listening to the voice of the God who has spoken into space and time, and puts my mind into a posture of intent to obey and to follow.

Living and powerful, His thoughts sift and winnow my own,

revealing motives that I would rather not see.

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Through Scripture, I am able to absorb the intimate vocabulary of worship, the raw expressions of lament, or the wisdom of instruction that sets me on a right path – not because I’m racking up points on an “Extreme Discipleship Scorecard,” but because in the process of memorizing Scripture, I find the true meaning of learning the Truth by heart.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

0 Replies to “Memorizing the Mind of God- The Word Works Series

  1. Michele, this is so good! I’m touched by your descriptions here of what memorization truly means. And yes, I agree with you that memorizing God’s Word is how we “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” Wonderful post!

    1. I’m committed to this process, and it was so helpful to me to have the opportunity to write about it in a space where the discipline is celebrated and valued. Kristine, thank you for reading along!

  2. Michele,
    This is beautiful and convicting. Sometimes I have this crazy thought…what if I was imprisoned somewhere for life and had nothing but my memory of scripture. Would I have enough in my memory to sustain me? I know, crazy thought. But, I need scripture to be at the forefront of my mind so that when the enemy tries to get a foothold, I can slam the door shut with the Truth because it’s handy. I love the idea of taking 3×5 card with me on my walk and using that time to work on memorization and meditation on His Word. Sometimes I think God would delight in us taking it one line at a time and really digesting what He has to share. Great post and much needed!
    Blessings to you sweet friend,
    Bev

    1. Yes, sometimes it’s not a matter of being imprisoned, but of being desperate in other ways — do we have enough Scripture stored away for that? I like your thought about digesting each line as we read. I’m trying to train myself to SLOW DOWN as I read.

  3. Oh Michele, I love this idea of His Word being our feast, eagerly devoured!!! What a visual this gives me now each time I think of His scriptures… sharing this with my teen girls mentoring group and on social media!!!
    Bethany, this series really is so uplifting!

    1. I’m so thankful for your ministry to teen girls — I’m certain that my mentor was instrumental in my life, and be sure to tell your girls that their brains are just perfect for memorizing right now! I have to work twice as hard to remember things half as long now . . . BUT the stuff I learned in my teens stays with me with very minimal reviewing.

  4. Michele love this. We should all be devouring His Word. I memorize but not near enough. Love how your friend dove into it and how it changed you.

  5. What an encouraging post! I am so thankful that God allowed me to attend Christian schools that forced us to memorize His Word….it is true, if you memorize it, it is right there when you need it. We don’t always have a Bible handy to turn to, but what a wonderful privilege to have Him write His Word upon the tables of our hearts! So blessed by your words, Michele. God bless you, and thank you to Bethany for sharing them here!

    1. Cheryl, you’ve hit on an important aspect of memorizing! When we memorize truth, it’s handy for meditation. I find that in the process of memorizing, I notice things and wonder about things that I would have missed in just a reading of the text!

  6. I love this because I see how you live this daily, Michele. You are an example of how to sit at God’s feet to learn and make space to hear from God. I have tried verse memorization several times but I have not stuck with it. I do know that my knowledge of scripture has broadened because I choose to dig into the word in a deeper way than I have ever done before. Thank you for these words today.

    1. Yes, Mary, I think our blogging is a tool to help us study and dig deeper into the Word so that we can share it with others. I know that the things I’ve taught over the years are the lessons that have stayed with me.

  7. Michele, I love how you make space in your life for memorization because you have learned “memorization creates space in my life for God.” Thank you for sharing and encouraging, friend. : )

  8. Michele, what a beautiful post. And some of those verses you shared (including the one in the graphic) are words I’ve memorized and engrafted into my heart. Of the spiritual disciplines, memorization isn’t one I’ve chosen to grow in as I should. I appreciate your reminders of the many aspects of God and working through our emotions that we can internalize when we memorize His amazing word.

    I love your gentle passion and the encouragements you shared in your words. They challenge me to be more diligent in this. Thank you.

    1. I need the reminder myself to stay diligent in this discipline. Making it part of everyday life, grabbing the cards and stuffing them into my pocket as I walk out the door, using alone time for meditation — all these ways of practicing the presence of God.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing Michele’s wisdom. Many years ago a professor required our class to meditate on Isaiah 55 for a six-week period. Last year our women’s Bible study memorized it together. What a beautiful encouragement that my “outlaw heart” must turn to Christ and Christ only for fulfillment.

  10. I have ragged index cards tucked around all over my house. It is life changing. Thank you for encouraging others to memorize. I am sure I would have been devastated had I not hidden God’s word in my heart. Wise words

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