“Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Like that title? Yep, you read it right. This year I’m not going to do devotionals or bible study. I had planned on reading through the bible in a year but I am tired of reading through passages of scripture superficially. I no longer want to just read my devotional each day and forget what I read after I close my bible so this year I’m going to do something a little bit different. Each year in January we all make resolutions, choose words, make goals. Last year my goal was to keep a bible journal for one year. It’s one of the few resolutions I made that I actually kept and it changed the way I studied the bible. It forced me to reflect on the words I was reading. This year I’m going to do something else and I’m asking you to join me if you like.
Late in December I was thinking about words, one word specifically, I was trying to think of a word I would use for 2015. The holidays are always crazy and when you are a homeschooling mom trying to run a small business sometimes life feels like absolute chaos. So, after a month of craziness I decided that it was necessary to slow down and see what God wanted for me in 2015. After trying to think of something profound like all the other people I follow in the social media scene I decided that I would forfeit my own self righteousness and pride and just pray, read my bible, and see what the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart. After lots of thought the word I came up with was listen, real profound right? It’s something I’m terrible at, really good at talking, not so good at listening. This year I’ve decided to commit my time to really listen to God and His Word. Then last week I was listening to Janet Pope on Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh Demoss, find the programs here (I highly recommend listening to all three). I was sitting in the car running errands, like a chicken with my head cut off per the usual, and I was stopped dead in my tracks by these words:
Janet: Well, if I might share this story. I want to share it in the most loving way that I possibly can. Recently, I was teaching a conference to a small group of women, a group of friends. They actually call themselves “The Bible Girls.” I’ve been speaking to them for the last three years.
On the final night of the conference, one of the girls said in front of the group, “My problem is, I’m just not disciplined.”
And I said, “Penny, can I say this to you in the most loving way? And I mean it with all my heart. What if I said to you, ‘You’re so disciplined in eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. You rarely miss a day.'”
Nancy: Most of us could say that.
Janet: But you would say, “No, it’s not discipline. I’m hungry.” And so I would say to you, it’s not that you are lacking discipline. It’s that you are not hungry.
And in that moment God gave her a teachable heart, and she said, “You’re right. Thank you.” And so what we all decided as a group was that our prayer would not be “God make me disciplined,” it would be “God make me hungry. Make me so hungry for God’s Word that discipline is not the issue.”
-Courtesy of Revive Our Hearts
That was me, not undisciplined, just not hungry. So I decided that I was going to change that. For the last few weeks I’ve had a verse from James running through my head. I’m not sure why but it just kept popping into my head;
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” -James 1:22
So I read through the book of James and it resonated with my heart so deeply I decided this was it. This was what I was going to do this year. I’m going to let scripture permeate my life and memorize a whole book of the bible! I’ve done chapters and verses but I have yet to do anything like this and at first It was daunting and then I broke it down. There are one hundred and eight verses in the book of James if I started today and memorized one verse a day I could have the whole book memorized by May 5th. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen. It might take longer (it probably will) but if I want to live out God’s word in my life what better way than to fill my heart with His words. Not the voices of great christian authors (even though I like those) but the real words of the living God. His truth.
So far I’ve memorized the first 8 verses. It has been a challenge but a blessing. What has worked for me is as soon as I wake up I either look up the verse on my phone or in my bible then I write it in my bible journal. Writing things down always seems to help impress it in my mind. Then I just repeat that verse throughout the day, alone and in context with the other verses I’ve memorized. Whatever I’m doing whether it brushing my teeth, doing the dishes, driving around, it only takes a minute to repeat a couple words and if I don’t remember I just check my journal.
This practice over the last week has really changed my heart. Instead of just spending 10,15, or even 30 minutes in God’s word each day I am thinking about it all day. I would love to have a group of people come alongside and memorize with me so at the bottom of this post is a downloadable .pdf with instructions and a checklist of verses. So you can keep track of your progress. There are two tracks on the sheet. The fast track is one verse a day for those of us who really want to just focus on memorizing James but if you would like to continue your normal bible study routine and memorize you can do one verse every three days. This way the memorization doesn’t interfere with your studying. I can’t wait for you to join in this journey with me!