Monday, August 22, 2011

The Word Filled Heart: A Challenge

Everyone has causes or passions—some have them well thought out and call them ‘mission statements’.
I think among the many causes related to our deeply held Christian beliefs a few that we all are ultimately committed to stand out. Holding Jesus up to the world and introducing others to Him is certainly among the most important. Glorying in and glorifying God would not find any disagreement among the faithful.
One of the ground level core “causes” that we have lost sight of in the evangelical community is coincidentally my cause and mission statement: training/teaching/stimulating/encouraging the hiding of God’s Word in our hearts. Yes, to use a more direct term: memorizing.
I have been a lifelong memorizer and meditator on the Bible. At first it was verses, including the Navigators program. Then it became passages like I Corinthians 9:24-27. Then chapters: Hebrews 12, I Corinthians 13, Psalm 1. And that led to entire books. It is the single most important and most beneficial practice in my spiritual life and history. It may sound strange to day, but I believe I would not be alive today had I not practiced memorization from an early age.
Spiritual development writer and professional philosopher Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy) has made the statement that of all the classic spiritual disciplines—prayer, bible reading, fasting, etc.—memorization of scripture is the one he puts first. John Piper, John MacArthur, Rick Warren and Billy Graham (to name a few) all agree.
So why aren’t we memorizing? One of my closest friends is a professor at a Christian college. When I asked him, he stated in his 20 years of teaching he has never seen students who consistently memorize. Very sad to me.

There are many issues on this subject. How to memorize? How much? How review and retain? How do I incorporate meditation and obedience? We will deal with in future blogs.
I will be posting a follow-up more in depth blog re this subject. This was to whet the appetite.
I want to change this current gap among evangelicals who love the Lord.  To do what Bill Bright used as one of his book titles: “Come Help Change the World”.
I believe a major step would be to bring back the discipline of hiding God’s Word in our hearts.  Out of what fills the heart the mouth speaks….Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee. Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you…This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth… Point taken?
In my next blog I will include a challenge as to how WE can go about instigating change. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, “how to stimulate one another to love and good works…” 10:24

I hope to encourage you to join me on this challenging adventure and important task. Please leave your comments; they encourage, challenge and stimulate our thinking.

1 comment:

  1. When I was very young, I was asked to memorize a scripture and then recite it in front of the Sunday School class. My mother worked with me all week so that I could get it right. I did not want to mess up. Throughout my life, it is the one scripture that I can always remember. I have brought it to my mind many times because it speaks the most profound and important message of the whole Bible...

    John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.