As with so many endeavors, I began in September with the best intentions when we set out to memorize the book of Ephesians together with the Partnering to Remember plan. My days are, I will admit, far more flexible than they used to be when I had a houseful of children demanding my attention and running me to exhaustion. While that sounds as if I am now free to be the master of my days, I have found that a lack of structure can be an open drain to my time, and many days end with me wondering what, if anything, I accomplished.
I also realized that reciting the memorized passages from Ephesians each week in class became daunting, and possibly even—no, definitely—guilt-inducing for those in the class who had not been able to keep up with the memorization. For this I sincerely apologize. It was never my intention to create a performance-based atmosphere or ladle guilt onto those who hadn't mastered their verses.
So we stopped reciting together in class, and then my own self-discipline at home fell apart (all my own fault), and I fell behind with the memorization. When I realized that I had misplaced my memory book and couldn't find it for two days of searching I knew my discipline had fallen entirely flat. And then I read an article in the November issue of Tabletalk Magazine that brought me back to the reason we are pursuing the memorization of Ephesians in the first place. Brian Tallman writes in his article, Practice Makes Perfect, that,
"The more we give ourselves over to those things which are good and right and true and beautiful and lovely, the more they take root in us and shape us."
And this is our goal in memorizing Scripture: that it would take root in us and shape us. I made copies of the article to hand out in class, but if you didn't get one you may read it here.
The theme of this month's issue of Tabletalk is Remembering God. Scott Redd acknowledges in his article, What Should We Remember? that we have a multitude of distractions, and we should therefore nurture our knowledge of the Lord through corporate and individual remembering. He then goes on to say:
"Finally, let us not forget the critical covenant remembering that occurs in the personal, day-to-day practice of meditating upon God’s Word and applying it to our lives as believers. In this way, human consciousness becomes shaped by the story of salvation so that individual believers begin to understand their own biographies as part of the history of the covenant people of God."
(read the article here)
This, dear friends, is why we are memorizing Scripture. As we go over the verses, repeating them multiple times a day, and day after day, they are buried deeper into our hearts and we begin to see connections taking shape between the passages themselves, and our place in them. The meaning of the Word blossoms in our understanding as the Spirit kneads his words into our hearts.
Therefore, I have a proposal for you to consider. Rather than reciting our memorized passages all together each week in class, choose one memorization partner with whom you can recite. Keep each other accountable, just the two of you, and spur one another on toward the goal. We have this holiday break from our weekly meetings for study in which you can give more of your time to the discipline of memorization each day, so pull your little books out and go back to the beginning if needed, but try to hide a bit more of the Word in your hearts each day. No pressure, no public performance, just feeding your heart and mind with the nourishment of God's Word.