C45 Scripture memorization project: common excuses called out

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him … (Ephesians 1.3-4a NIV)

That is our very first memory verse in this project and what a great one it is, no? Week # 1, starting today, Ephesians 1.3-4a. You can do this!

But now, (sigh) on to the excuses …

 
Excuse #1Uh, the dog ate my announcement sheet that had the memory verse on it.

A. Bad dog; b-a-d dog! Lucky for you the week’s text is also available on my Facebook and Twitter, on the church’s text message group and e-News (like this one), the projection announcements, and more. Not to mention – you can always make my day and just ask me. 😉

Excuse #2I don’t like the version selected that we’re supposed to memorize the passage in because it isn’t the one I use most of the time and it sounds different.

A. Get over it. That’s right, that’s what I said – get over it.

Think of it like this. If Jesus showed up and said something to your face one way one day and then, a few days later, spoke of the very same subject, but in slightly different words, would you correct him and say, “Hey, that’s not how you said it three days ago! That was the only right way and this way isn’t!” Uh, not, you wouldn’t. You’d gladly accept both ways of saying it; in fact, you’d be very humbled and grateful he even spoke to you at all, right? In fact, that’s what we have time and again with parallel passages throughout the Bible.

Well, it works the exact same way with Bible translations. Same thought/different words. Accept it. Further, learn to like it. Because it is the meaning you’re ultimately after, right, not just some argument over words?

Besides, if you can’t express the same thought two different ways, I dare say you don’t really understand the thought in it well enough yet. So don’t resist variation, rather, run to embrace it. And so, allow such moments to deepen your awareness, learning, understanding, and thinking … not allowing the devil to play with your head and lead you to grumble about the very words of God.

Excuse #3I’ve got a Bible. Several of them. Paper and digital. On my tablet and my phone. With every word in the Bible so easily and quickly accessible, tell me why I need to memorize these texts? 

A. You asked frankly so, I’ll respond frankly: because they’re everywhere except where they can be doing some good for you all of the time. Knowing where your Bible is, what you think it says, where to find things in it – none of these can take the place of keeping the word of God in your heart. It is the difference between having a package of seeds and having those seeds in the ground.

Excuse #4I. Need. Help. Because. This. Is. Hard. For. Me.

A. Fair enough; that is not an excuse; that’s a sincere cry for help! So, here are four truly helpful tips …

* Memorize the text in small pieces (4-8 words) at a time. Get that piece down cold – meaning you can say it aloud consistently, instantaneously, and flawlessly every time – before you add the next words. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

* Write the passage out several times each day (no typing allowed). This forces you to think about every letter of every word and engages an additional, powerful sense in the work – your sense of touch – which will – write it down! – greatly aid your memory.

* Pay close attention to movement in the passage. As in the sense of time (past, present, future) as well as other matters (who, what, where, why, how). Note as well things like causation (e.g. – “because,” “by,” “from”), company (e.g. – “with,” “in”) direction (e.g. – “to,” “up,” “down”), and consequence (e.g. – “so that,” “in order that”). Think of these matters as something like road signs along the way. Often those “little” words will prompt you to remember the entire following string of words.

* Use your body to help your brain. Get in front of a mirror and use gestures to help convey the meaning of the text as you say it aloud. For example, does the passage speak of something being done to you or inside of you? If so, point at your heart. Does it address a group a people with words like “us” or “we?” Then broadly gesture as if toward a crowd with the sweep of your hand. Is God addressed? Look up while you say the word “God.” You get the idea. Just try it; it works wonders with your memory!

Excuse #5This really does look like a great project and I’d really like to do it, but you just don’t know how busy my life is right now and …

A. Then you’re too busy for your own good. So get real honest, inventory what occupies your time, stop doing something (or cut back), and make memorizing what the Holy Spirit has said to you a greater desire and a higher priority.

Pick something: spend less time on social media, not as much time with the news, put this in place of some of your music or video time, etc.

Multi-task: write the week’s text on a sticky-note and tack it where you are at the moment (on the mirror while you’re shaving or putting on your make-up; on the equipment or in the palm of your hand while you exercise; on your dashboard while you’re driving; etc.).

You have the time. Reject telling yourself otherwise. Just make this matter a higher priority and let something of lower priority slide, for God speaking to you is rather important, no?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him … (Ephesians 1.3-4a NIV)