People often ask me if I am a fanatic about Scripture memory.
I tell them. “No, I am not a fanatic about Scripture memory,
I am a WILD-EYED FANATIC about Scripture memory!”
Yes, Leroy was a WILD-EYED FANATIC about Scripture memory. So also were Dawson Trotman, Lorne Sanny, Jim Morris, Bill Brunson, Dick Grant, and many other Navigators who have gone before us. Why the necessity of being WILD-EYED? It is because there is absolutely no change in our lives that happens apart from our exposure to the Word of God. It is His means of Grace. If we do not avail ourselves of the Lord’s means of Grace, we cannot glorify Him. Only the Scripture that the Holy Spirit has access to in our lives can be used to produce change (II Corinthians 3:18) If we have memorized and meditated upon His Word to a significant degree, the Holy Spirit is better able to produce His work in and through us.
The Lord has used memorized Scripture in my life in many ways. Let me give three illustrations of this. The first of these involved a former patient of mine who had reacted to an illness out of fear and misunderstanding. During my consultation with him the discussion of various possibilities of his X-ray abnormality was distressful to him. He developed some degree of resentment toward me and discussed his feelings with another individual. Thankfully, this individual was able to help bring him to faith in Christ. The individual who helped him was also a friend of mine, and suggested that I might want to call this man and be reconciled to him. I did not think seriously about his request, not really understanding why the patient was so troubled. A short while later I was memorizing some verses in Matthew and came to Matthew 5:23-24 which states “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” After memorizing this verse and thinking about it for only a few days, it became clear that I was to do what was a difficult action on my part. I called him, invited him to lunch, and apologized for how our interaction had affected him. The Lord’s power had been made available to me to enable me to apply these scriptures to my life. If I had not memorized and meditated upon them, this needed reconciliation would never have happened.
Continually, on a day to day level, the Lord provides His peace through His scriptures. The worries, the cares and the responsibilities of this life, as mentioned in Mark 4 can be consuming. The newspapers continually detail illustrations of why we cannot put our trust in the economy, politicians, businesses and organizations. Years ago, in an uncertain time, I memorized Psalm 20:7. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” In remembering His name there is peace. This peace does not depend upon health, wealth, or anything in this world. It is the peace that Christ gives. He declared in John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” It is only as these words live in our hearts, that His Spirit is able to guide us in His peace.
Scripture that is memorized also enables me to live my life with purpose. Colossians 1:28-29 (Phillips Version) is as follows. “So naturally we proclaim Christ, we warn every one we meet and we teach everyone we can all that we know about Him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time with all the strength that God gives me.” This verse was one that I memorized thirty eight years ago. To have this in my subconscious mind; to review it periodically is to enable the Holy Spirit to direct my life to those with whom my life may have an impact. To encounter those I meet with thoughts of “how would the Lord want me to pray for this person?” or “is this someone with whom the Lord wants me to begin a relationship?” are questions brought to my conscious mind by the Holy Spirit’s use of memorized scripture.
In the Old Testament we see the memorization of scripture commanded in Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” In the New Testament, we see the memorization of scripture demonstrated by our Lord. (Luke 4:4,8,12, Mark 12:24, Luke 24:27) If we do not follow the commandment of the Old Testament , and the demonstration in the New Testament, our lives will leave only a blur instead of a mark We will have made only a living, without making a difference.
May the Lord encourage your hearts, and bring fruit to your lives as you meditate upon and apply the instruction given to us in Colossians 3:16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
In Christ, Richard Spann