This is a testimony and hopefully a “you can do this too!” all in one. So, I grew up learning Scripture here and there through songs and memory verse challenges; however, as an adult, Holy Spirit called me to memorize the book of James…yes, the whole book. I thought…that is crazy, unattainable, why even start!?! Thankfully, Holy Spirit didn’t allow me to stay in that defeated mindset.
Holy Spirit sent me encouragement by providing me an opportunity to meet a group of college age people in a discipleship program, which requires ALL of them to memorize…yep – the Book of James in the first year!
Ok, LORD, I hear you!
It was then that I finally took steps toward my calling to memorize James. It has taken me longer than a year, not because I couldn’t accomplish the goal in a year, but sadly because I would become distracted and lose focus. However, the part I had memorized and hid in my heart, Holy Spirit used in my life and provided opportunities for me to share God’s Word with others…and myself. I was sharing Truth, hope, joy and life! It was such an amazing experience to be able to speak – verbatim, God’s Words, instead of my own!
It’s the one who memorizes who benefits the most! Memorizing Scripture helps us:
- Experience the power of God’s Word Psalm 119:9,11
- Renew our minds to align with God’s Truth Romans 12:2; James 1:5-8, 3:17-18
- Be transformed and become more like Jesus James 1:2-5, 1:12, 3:13-18, 5:19-20
- Defend against temptation Luke 4:1-13
- Expose lies and sins James 1:19-21,22-27, 4:1-4, 5:7-12; Hebrews 4:12-13
- See God’s promises and character more clearly James 1:5, 1:13, 1:17,4:5-10, 5:15
- Fight culturally accepted ideas about self and others James 1:16, 1:22, 1:26, 4:13-16
- Better evaluate our true spiritual condition James 2, James 4:11-12, 4:17, 5:1-5, 5:14-20
- Acknowledge our need for Holy Spirit James 3:1-12, 4:15-17
Last September, seven years after my initial calling to memorize the Book of James, I only had 2 chapters committed to memory. But again, Holy Spirit was teaching me the benefits of abiding in God’s Word continuously and hiding His Word in my heart. He was helping me sin less, think more like Jesus and become more like Him.
I was motivated!
I told my accountability group I was going to finish the book of James by the end of the year. So, in October and November, I dedicated my driving, chores, showers, applying make-up, and lying in bed moments to practice what I knew and kept adding new Scripture. I still had wasted time and distracted moments and days, but I didn’t give up. I just kept at it, memorizing large chunks of Scripture. So, even though there were ups and downs, I was feeling victorious!
I remember the day I recited the book of James to my mom on the phone and then to my friend as I was on a long drive in November. It was an amazing experience! I felt victorious having reached my goal!
Then came the laziness and complacency…
However, the sense of accomplishment caused me to become lazy…fast forward to April…I had chapter 1 solid, chapter 2 mostly, chapter 3-4 the basic ideas, and chapter 5 just a few highlights. There was a moment of frustration and feeling of failure, yet I asked Holy Spirit to help me to truly crave God’s Word – not just a temporary head knowledge but unremovable, life transforming hunger.
In the fight…again!
I’m back at it and able to recite chapters 1-5 with minimal errors…my daughter helps critique me so I can achieve verbatim perfection. Each day, my goal is to review until the Word is carved on my heart. It is a fight, but a fight worth being in, to know the character of God and His directions for life.
What about you?
As Holy Spirit prompts you, do it! Ask for His help, seek accountability, memorize piece by piece, verse by verse, and experience the rewards of hiding God’s Word in your heart!