Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not a New Year's Resolution

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, especially if they have to do with diet and exercise.  This year, however, I do want to acquire a new habit, even if I’m not calling it a resolution.

I want to work on memorizing scripture. Not just verses, but passages. Not just to check a box off the Christian “To Do” list, but to focus my thoughts on God and His words to me. I want my mind to be renewed.

Most days I’m in serious need of a mental makeover by 5:00 p.m.  I start the day on a positive note, but often home school, housework, e-mail, errands, visits, and phone calls leave my mind worn down and overwhelmed by late afternoon.
The voices of discouragement and complaining set in. I don’t have enough time for everything. What on earth am I going to make for dinner?  What will happen to my family if the economic crisis worsens? Where’s the joy and abundant life Jesus promised? I need a mental makeover. I need God’s words written on my mind and heart to counteract the voices of the world.

Here are other reasons I want to memorize God’s Word:

  • I love the Bible and want to treasure it.
  • I want to know the mind of Christ and walk in closer fellowship with Him.
  • I want to delight in the Law of the Lord, meditate on it and be like a tree planted by streams of water. (Psalm 1:2,3)

False Starts

Last summer I read Ann Voskamp’s excellent blog post, "Maybe the Most Important Thing to Do for Your Faith." I was encouraged to memorize Ephesians 1:3-11.  I worked for several weeks to memorize it, laid it aside, and then promptly forgot it! I hope it’s still somewhere back in the recesses of my mind...

New Beginnings

Recently I started reading John Piper’s book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, and I became convinced again. Piper makes this statement:

“The joy-producing effects of memorizing Scripture and having it in my head and heart are incalculable.  The world and its God-ignoring, all embracing secularism is pervasive.  It invades my mind every day.  What hope is there to have a mind filled with Christ except to have a mind filled with his Word? …Memorizing Scripture is one of the surest routes to going deep with God and walking in communion with him.” (p. 119,120)

So I decided that in 2012 I want to memorize scripture passages. I’m working on Philippians 3:7-14 first.  I have a little red notebook, and I write out one verse on a page each day. Every day I review the verse I learned the day before and memorize a new one. Here’s what it looks like.

Day 1:  Write down verse 7 and repeat it ten times.

Day 2: Repeat verse 7 ten times; write down verse 8 and repeat it ten times.

Day 3: Repeat verse 8 ten times; write down verse 9 and repeat it ten times.  Review verses 7-9 once.

The path to developing new habits is marked by false starts, failings, and new beginnings.  I know I won’t always be consistent. I’m not expecting perfection, but my goal is to take baby steps towards having my mind renewed by God's word. 

What about you?  If you had to pick one Bible passage to memorize, what would it be?  Do you have goals for 2012?


Stephanie said...

Really, really love this! I have always struggled to "memorize" scripture. But, I do "write down" every day all sorts of things---so this might work for me! GREAT idea. ...I may adopt this non-resolution resolution myself :)

Briana said...

Love your perspective on memorizing! That's one of my "goals" for this year as well--only I am working on individual texts as well as a few passages. God bless! :)

OliveTree said...

I write down things a lot, too, Stephanie, helps me to process what I read in God's word, process life, etc.

Happy memorizing, Briana!

Choate Family said...

It helps me to have accountability partners - so we frequently memorize together as a family. The kids and their sharp minds always put me to shame! Our school curriculum has a great scripture memory program with wonderful CDs, and having the music really helps me to memorize and to retain scripture.

OliveTree said...

Accountability is a GREAT idea. I've been wondering if my kids would do this as well...

De said...

This post prompted me to get busy on memorizing again! Thanks for the nudge. : ) ~De