Early in 2014 I decided to memorize the book of Colossians. It should have taken less than six months but it’s been over a year now and I’m only halfway through. Discouraged and disappointed I started to question my motives and asked myself, “What’s the point of this anyway, is it even worth it?”
I was reading a devotional and it contained an excerpt from Tim Keller’s book, Prayer:
In the summer after I was treated successfully for thyroid cancer, I made four practical changes to my life of private devotion. First, I took several months to go through the Psalms, summarizing each one. That enabled me to begin praying through the Psalms regularly, getting through all of them several times a year. The second thing I did was always to put in a time of meditation as a transitional discipline between my Bible reading and my time of prayer. Third, I did all I could to pray morning and evening rather than only in the morning. Fourth, I began praying with greater expectation.
The changes took some time to bear fruit, but after sustaining these practices for about two years, I began to have some breakthroughs…
Did you get that? Two years until he saw a breakthrough! Now is a good time to recall the definition of delayed gratification:
making a choice which limits the ability of getting something now, for the pleasure of being able to have something bigger or better later.
We stay the course in memorizing scripture because we believe that God’s word always produces fruit and will accomplish its purpose (Isaiah 55:11). Time is irrelevant. I found great encouragement in Keller’s experience and saw this as a great time to rebuild the case for scripture memorization. Here are two reasons:
1. You will be a better witness.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. Many of us struggle with sharing the Good News about Jesus for different reasons. In some cases it is simply that we don’t know what to say and lack the confidence we need.
Having the appropriate scripture memorized completely removes that barrier and allows you to know exactly what to say and to stand on the authority of God’s Word. What other confidence do you need?
2. Memorizing Scripture enables us to encourage believers.
We all need encouragement from time to time and scripture allows us to deposit solid spiritual truth into the lives of others. We can’t be content with things like, “Don’t worry, it’ll be ok,” or “God will take care of you.”
Someone facing an impossible situation needs to hear Matthew 19:26 which states, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Someone facing ongoing illness needs to hear 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”
Anyone can memorize scripture
You are not too young or too old. In a later post I will give you more reasons and share with you the technique I’ve been using to memorize Colossians.