I think I have watched every single episode of the reality show, Fixer Upper. I made sure that I recorded the ones that I missed and am guilty of watching some episodes more than once. You could say I’m a fan. I am fascinated by the transformations they can make on homes that many would never take a second look at. My sweet husband even took me to Waco to visit the Silos on my birthday, and though I don’t have the funds or the skills of Joanna, I am still updating our 1970’s country home.
Everything I do to renovate our home is cosmetic. I can paint the walls a timeless white and post scripture on the walls, but nothing I do for my home will be more important than filling it with Truth: not on the walls of my home, but on the walls of my heart.
“A house is built by wisdom,
and it is established by understanding;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with every precious and beautiful treasure”
This verse in Proverbs is a constant reminder for me to keep my focus on the things that really matter–and that even if my home looks picture perfect, it is only an empty shell, if I am not filled with the precious and beautiful treasure of God’s Word.
Do you have a plan to consistently memorize scripture? Do you struggle to retain information and wish that there was an easy way to remember those verses?
Yeah, me too–but the truth is, there is no special secret or quick fix that takes the place of these two simple steps:
Commitment and Consistency
Commitment: I am committed in my heart to follow the Word of God as best that I know how. To follow God’s Word means I have to know it, and there is only one way to know it–
Read it. Study it. Dwell on it.
While that seems obvious, it is often the hardest part for us. I believe that it is absolutely necessary, and so long ago I began the practice of reading my Bible through. And through it again. Cover to cover. Chronologically, systematically, slowly, and topically. Reading it is only the first step consistent growth. I want to plant the seeds of truth deep in my heart so that I am not just hearing the truth, but am actually living out those truths on a daily basis. The problem is, my brain doesn’t always cooperate.
While I have a desire to remember scripture, I don’t easily retain it the way that I wish I could, so it takes good, old-fashioned hard work.
I happen to be pretty realistic about it. I know I cannot memorize the whole Bible, and even the verses that I have committed to memory can allude me, but it doesn’t change the value of the discipline. Many times I have seen that when I practice the discipline of Scripture memory, very often it is the avenue that God will use to inspire me, challenge me, convict me, guide me, or encourage me.
Consistency: There has to be a conscious decision made and a plan put in place or I will easily neglect what is important to me. I have to make an intense effort to write verses down, put them in front of me, and remind myself of them often. Make a plan or plan to fail. The times that I have made scripture memory a priority have not only benefitted me in the short-term, but over the long-haul. I can’t tell you how often this discipline has prepared me for the future. Often God takes those verses that I commit to memory and brings them into real life situations that I might be facing or for someone else that needs encouragement from God’s Word.
I know. Sometimes you feel like you are just going through the motions, or that what you read is just too hard to understand.
Be patient. Be consistent.
Ask God to give you clarity. Use trusted resources to help you. Spend time discussing what you’re reading with other growing Christians. The more you read it, the more you will understand. The Bible fits together like a puzzle. Every piece of it is important for understanding the whole picture.
Reading it is crucial: Retaining it is vital.
We have more access to The Bible than ever before. People who have never owned written copies of the Bible can now go online and read what it says, easily comparing translations. While I enjoy the easy access on my computer and phone using Apps like Biblegateway.com, it will never replace the Bible that I have marked up, prayed through and wept over.
More than ever I see the need for us to get back to the Bible. We have lots of studies and commentaries and helps out there, but if we’re not careful we spend more time reading those than we do the Word. Our main focus should always be “What does the Bible say?” and then, “What does God want me to know about Him, His purpose or His ways in this passage? What it is that God might be wanting to do in me, through me, or around me based on this passage?” I’m no theologian. I know that there is a lot that I don’t know. But reading through the wisdom of Solomon, I also know that when it comes right down to it–
True wisdom is more than just knowledge. It is walking through life with spiritual eyes. Eyes that see things from God’s perspective.
My mother has recently had a stroke, taking away some of her most precious memories. You know what I’ve noticed? While she may not remember specific events or dates in her head, in her heart she can still remember that she is loved. Not just by her family, but by God. She grieves for family members that are gone. She has shared with me that she lays awake at night and prays for God’s mercy, His protection, His help. The road she has travelled has been a difficult one, and she has memories that she may never get back. She questions if what we tell her is true. While she can be confused and might not remember things correctly, what does remain is a deep conviction about what she believes is true and right. The problem comes when she remembers incorrectly. It only causes frustration and more confusion.
Seeing her so passionate about what she believes to be true is a painful reminder that, when it gets right down to it–my thoughts, my opinions or my insights don’t really matter. What matters is what the written Word of God says. We are fallible. While we might be passionate about the truth–we can be passionately wrong. Getting back to the source of Truth is the key to finding the answers that will prevent confusion. I know. It’s not always a simple as that. I’m not naive. I know that there will always be discussion on the interpretation of the Bible. I just want to be careful to avoid looking at man’s opinion or perspective more than I look into the Truth of God’s Word. We don’t often get the privilege of asking an author the reason behind his words. Or what he meant by them. But in this case we do. God invites us in that search.
When King David was giving his son advice about a most important building project, the temple in Jerusalem, he gave all kinds of advice, but none more important than this:
Knowledge without truth is empty.
Truth without understanding is tragic.
We all know that fixing up my home is possible with a little elbow grease and hard work, but how sad it would be if I put all of that effort into something that is only temporary only to neglect a transformation of what will last for eternity.
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6