Many years ago, I took a bible memorization course through the Navigators called “Memorize The Word.” This course was such an eye opener for me. It showed me that the Bible was more than an archaic book with long convoluted sentences. The Bible has meaning, purpose, and relevance. Moreover, God works with His Word and through His word to become involved in our lives.
I learned this important lesson at the ripe old age of thirteen. It was a lesson I needed to learn.
On a middle shelf inside the back of the pulpit in our small suburban church was a box full of ribbons. The box was supposed to be accessible only to the Sunday School superintendent, but every so often, I would sneak onto the sanctuary stage and riffle through the multi-colored ribbons with bible verse references etched in gold letters. The next Sunday I would confidently rattle off the verse I had memorized in the car going to church, claim my ribbon and promptly forget what I had learned. Soon I had a full box of ribbons of my own, but my head remained empty of God’s Word. Easy come, easy go. The only sign of any memory activity was that fraying piece of perishable ribbon.
Then our church offered the Memorize the Word course. A precocious child, I joined the adult class with my mom. older sister and about twenty other adults up to the age of seventy. The course promised that if we repeated a verse every day for seven weeks then every week for two years, God’s Word would be embedded in our hearts for the rest of our lives. I had recently declared my faith in Christ and my soul was hungry for something more. Tired of my hypocrisy over those silly ribbons, I delved into the material. It took only two weeks to realize how God longed to weave His words into the fabric of my life.
Around this same time, my eighth grade choir teacher required each of us to stand before the class and sing a solo. Too shy to ask anyone to play for me, I decided to accompany myself on the piano. A geeky kid, I only knew classical music and Gaither songs. So, as an unpopular kid who suffered nose bleeds from stage fright, I chose to sing a Christian song and accompany myself. Catch the impending disaster? Whatever was I thinking?
As the person before me sang her solo, I was freaking out. My hands shook. My stomach knotted. My breathing became shallow and my heart pounded a rhythm loud enough to accompany the current solo. I was ready to bolt out of the room and suffer the penalty for truancy. Then out of nowhere, one of the verses from the “Memorize The Word” class ran through my frantic brain.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:13
Me? All things? Through Christ? Really? God, did you mean this? Because if this is true, I really, really need Your help right about now.
Throughout the last half of my classmate’s solo, I repeated that verse over and over enough times to make up for the next month of review: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can. . . .”
“Okay, Karen, you’re next.”
My heart was still fluttering but I was doggone determined to allow God to get me through this. And he did.
I didn’t make any mistakes. My voice came out louder and more on tune than a squeak. The teacher praised my performance. I got more positive complements over the next two days than I had for two years. And best yet, two students (who never usually talked to me) asked me to accompany their upcoming solos. Best of all, I HAD SURVIVED!
I went away convinced that God’s Word is living and active, just like another memorized verse (Hebrews 4:12) says. Bible verses are applicable to daily life. God is real and ready to be involved in MY daily life, just like His word says. His help is available to common people like me, not just to ministers, missionaries and the saintly ones.
I also understood exactly what Jesus meant when he said the Holy Spirit would bring His words to our minds to help us when we had need. It’s a lesson God has proved over and over again throughout the course of my life.
The ribbons are long gone – but just as the writers of this course material promised, God’s word has never faded from my memory banks. That’s because His Word is more than just words.
If you want to start to memorize the Word of God so it can impact your life, check out Navigator’s topical memory system.