In valiant efforts to not live distracted — to focus in and gain some traction in 2016 — I picked up a book that feels like home to me. I’ve mentioned it here before, but the little book “The Calvary Road” by Roy Hession always rocks my world. Always. I only have to read a paragraph before the embers in me are fanned into a flame. Really. It’s that good. And not to tell you what to do, but you should definitely own a copy.
Hession starts the book by diving into brokenness — a light-hearted intro. Not really. Then he talks about revival and being “filled to overflowing.” (Seriously. He uses those exact words. And I discovered him after naming my blog. So we’re pretty much bffs…if he were alive…and if he knew me.) Anyway, he refers to Colossians 3:15. So the other morning I went there and read the verses around that text and it confirmed something that God had already been stirring in me.
“Set your minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on earth…
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”
Colossians 3:2, 16
Set. Your. Mind.
My mind gets clogged up so quickly with things of this world. If I don’t purposefully set my mind on things above, I’m definitely going to default back to thinking on things of the earth. And usually my default includes self-gain, self-protection, and self-defense. Lots of self going on.
I’ve tasted the sweetness of dying to self. It’s a beautiful, freeing way to live. So I don’t want to waste time in default mode — though I fall back into every single day. Our good God tells us to set our minds on things above. We have to decide to set our minds. We get to choose what we think about. And I want — nay, “need” (I’ve always wanted to say “nay” but rarely get the chance) — to set my mind on Him.
So, I’m going to try something. “Try” is the key word. And I don’t tell you this to impress you, because chances are high that I will fail. I tell you because I need accountability. If I tell you then I’m more likely to keep “trying” even when I don’t feel like it anymore.
I’m going to TRY to memorize Psalm 119 this year. If God can speak worlds into existence then He can empower me (and you, hint-hint) to remember 176 verses– the girl who can’t quite remember how much each of her kids weighed when they were born #truestory.
“Why such a seeming-impossible goal?” you ask. Well, the other day I listened to JD Greear’s sermon entitled “A Year in the Bible” and that fiery, crazy-eyed thing happened to me. I texted my sister to see if she would possibly want to memorize Psalm 119 with me. She thought that was funny.
Anyway, after I clarified my seriousness, she agreed to the crazy idea and we both decided we would “try” — by the absolute grace of God — to memorize Psalm 119 this year. Why? Because His Word is alive.
I’ve told you this story before, but when I went to seminary after years of prodigal living, I craved to know His Word. Craved it. I couldn’t get enough. After bringing me back to Himself, He gave me an appetite for His Word that I couldn’t control, contain, or conjure up. I remember walking into that seminary dorm room, throwing (in a loving way) my Bible down on the bed, and declaring to my roommate, “This thing is alive and it’s freaking me out!”
Back to the “why.” I go in waves of being diligent to memorize Scripture. A few years back Katie and I memorized Philippians together — and that rocked my world. Then I went a while without being real diligent in memorizing Scripture. Then I said I was going to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. I fizzled out about two-thirds the way through. Which made me feel like a total loser. But it is what it is.
Since then I haven’t committed any large chunks of Scripture to memory. But the other day while listening to that sermon, I sensed it was time. And then reading that Colossians text, that did me in. Because we live out of what we meditate upon. When life presses against us, whatever takes up residence in our souls drives our reaction. And more than anything I want His truth dwelling in me.
That said, I’m not going to do a bunch of publicity or blog images or Facebook groups. But I did want to ask you if you want to join me and my sister in trying to memorize Psalm 119. Not to get some Scripture memory Medal of Honor — which doesn’t exist — but because His Word is life. And we need it abiding in us in order to truly live.
By meditating on and memorizing 4 verses a week, we’ll finish it up in a year. So in true Jerry McGuire fashion, “Who’s coming with me? Who’s coming with me?”
Here’s to Tuesday, friends. If you’re braving it with us, spend time this week writing out, reading, and repeating Psalm 119:1-4. We remember what we repeat. Simple enough, right?
Week of January 18, 2016
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh and if you have excuses as to why you can’t do this, well, I’ve probably had the same excuse come out of my mouth. So I can address those one-by-one in the comments, you blessed thing you.
Fill me, Lord…
Let’s name this crazy-eyed challenge. Any thoughts?
How has memorizing Scripture blessed you in the past?