Thanks to all of you who’ve continued to follow my posts during the summer. The challenge I made was more difficult than I expected. I did memorize some Scripture but not as much I expected to. These are the lessons I learned.
I must adjust my challenges to the demands of reality. Being a senior citizen means I can’t memorize something as quickly as I did when I was a teenager. Neither can I retain it as well. It’s information overload. It’s unhelpful when I am traveling and visiting family, to make Scripture memory as much of a priority as it is when I’m at home. If my focus is on the amount of Scripture I must memorize for the day, I won’t hear what God is saying or doing in a conversation with my family and friends.
The Holy Spirit won’t let me forget the lines of Scripture he knows I need hear. Each moment of the day, he alerts me to the word of comfort, correction, or understanding I need. While my husband and I traveled crowded highways, this phrase that I’d memorized from Psalm 121 kept me from becoming anxious: “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Often during the summer, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this Psalm 15 phrase (referring to the behavior of those who have the privilege of his company): “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others.” In several situations, it helped me to keep my mouth shut!
Meditation is more valuable than memorization. Mediation is a way of internalizing the truths of Scripture. I discuss them with the Spirit. I make them my own. I put them into action. Rather than focusing on how much Scripture I can memorize, I need to focus on how well I’m aligning my heart and will with the Scripture I’m memorizing. How am I responding to God’s messages?
Living according to Scriptural truths is a bigger and better challenge than memorizing it. That’s what will bring me a lasting and satisfying reward. For Jesus said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT).
Will I continue memorizing Scripture? Yes, but in smaller chunks. My focus will be more on responding to what I read. In the last two weeks, I did not memorize any of Psalm 40. Instead, I meditated on it and wrote the following response. It concludes the poem I started a few decades ago.
A Psalm of Gratitude
Lord, you’ve heard my prayer. I no longer live in the pit of self-destruction. Although at times I still feel depressed, I no longer live there. You’ve freed me from cycles of deep depression.
Not in the way I wanted, imagined, and expected. Your wisdom is far greater and your ways are far superior to mine (Isaiah 55:9)
I wanted an instant deliverance. You took me on a journey. A journey that will not end until the day you call me home. Every day you teach me something new.
I wanted quick and simple answers; you gave me understanding. You showed me where my patterns of negative thinking began—deep in my heart. You worked with me to uproot firmly established beliefs–lies! You continue to do so. In that way, my mind is being changed for good–transformed!
I wanted you to do all of the work. You were respectful of my personality and gave me choices. You showed me what it means to be responsible. I learned that my freedom is not a passive gift. It must be received.
Jesus, how kind you are! Your words are like gentle raindrops. How patient and humble you are! You do not push and shove me when I’m slow to understand. How merciful and gracious you are! You forgive me for the same error, over and over again.
You do not allow me to remain in bondage to lies! I am a blessed woman!
I want to tell everyone how amazing you are! My heart overflows with joy. Poems and songs fill my journals. If I wrote millions of them, I would only express a tiny fraction of your love, goodness, wisdom, and power.
I want to share the words you’ve given me. Show me how I can best do this. I want many more people to see your magnificence and worship you.
You’ve been constantly paying attention to me, patiently and persistently loving me–for eighty decades!
Take every word of Scripture I’ve memorized and work within me so that I, like Jesus, “delight to do your will”.
8/31/2018 Jane Ault