One of my goals for 2018 is to memorize a new passage of Scripture each month. This is something I did (and blogged about) in 2015 and it proved to be an incredibly fruitful spiritual practice.
Thanks to the convenience of technology, I have access to the entire Bible at all times, which makes it easy to buy into the assumption that I don’t need to commit God’s Word to memory. Why dedicate valuable mental real estate to words that I can look up at any moment? Why indeed! Because there is power in the Word of God! And when God’s powerful words are seared into my brain, they literally become a part of me, flowing into my daily speech and popping into my mind when I need them most. It’s harder for me default to negative self-talk when God’s words to me are vying for brain space.
I’ve slacked on my Scripture memorization over the last couple of years, but that is changing in 2018, and I’m bringing you along with me for the journey! I plan to blog about the verse(s) I commit to memory each month; perhaps you’ll join me in memorizing these same passages!* At the very least, I hope you will be inspired by my monthly reflections on God’s Word—beginning with my January passage, which comes from 1 Thessalonians.
In deciding on a passage to memorize this month, I knew I wanted a verse that focused on prayer (another spiritual practice I’d like more of in my life). I landed on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which reminds us to live a life of perpetual prayer and gratitude. THIS is what I want my attitude and thought life to look like in 2018 (and beyond!).
As I read the rest of the chapter, I quickly decided to tack on the next few verses to my memorization plan as well because they contain SO MUCH great stuff! In them, Paul exhorts his readers to test all prophecies and hold onto the good while rejecting all evil. This idea of sussing out the truth has been a recurring theme for me in recent months. (In fact, Truth was a runner-up for my Word of 2018.) We live in an era where information is abundant, but the truth is fluid and hard to nail down. When I stray too far from the truths of God’s Word, I find I am easily swayed by popular opinions and even the self-defeating lies I tell myself. These verses remind me of the importance of fact-checking against Scripture—and in order to do this, I need to regularly study God’s Word so that I’m familiar with the Ultimate Truth.
The final verse in this passage is my favorite: “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” God holds His children to a high standard, but He doesn’t ask us to follow His principles on our own. He promises to walk beside us, showing us the right path and holding our hand as we follow it. What an encouraging image to hold onto as we face a new year.
*I’ve used different methods in the past, but I’m currently using the Verses app to help with my memorization. The app provides a series of useful memory games, and it allows you to track your memorization progress and store favorite verses in different collections. I especially like the Discover feature, which recommends category-specific verses to memorize. The app itself is free, but I paid the extra $7 to gain access to the NIV version (the default is King James, and you pay for each additional version). I haven’t been using the app for long, but it’s my favorite of the memorizations apps I tried, and so far I’m really loving it.