Being “occupied until Jesus comes” means some of our time must be spent learning how to spiritually feed ourselves, strengthen our faith, and learn “best practices” in living in a world that grows ever more hostile to Christians.
Books, magazines, devotionals, sermons on CD or internet sites can be added resources, but they are not our primary source for God’s life.
God’s word is.
Jesus said, ” … the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 NIV)
Meat and milk, our spiritual food for life, health and growth, is contained in his word. It’s also our faith producer, faith exerciser, armor and weapon against the enemy.
Having God’s word on hand in your memory isn’t just a good religious idea, it’s life-preserving. Basic survival gear. So, how to get it into our memory? Here are some practical tips.
- Read it regularly.
- Think about what you’re reading. Pray for clarity and listen to the Lord as you read.
- Write out verses you particularly want to remember.
- Read them out loud as you write. Index cards can be useful tools, one or two verses per card. Keep the ones you’re currently working on handy – in your kitchen, your office, even in your pocket or purse.
- Re-read them every chance you get, out loud when possible, and occasionally re-write them. Every time you work on the same verse, that memory is reinforced and becomes easier to recall.
Memory is a complex brain function but not that complicated. Each individual step in the process of learning is stored in its own memory cell. Plus, each combination of those steps is stored in a different memory cell. For instance,
Seeing a word = 1 memory cell
Thinking about meaning of the word = 1
Combination of seeing and thinking about the word = 1
Total = 3 places that word is stored
Seeing the word = 1
Thinking about meaning of the word = 1
Speaking the word out loud = 1
Hearing the word spoken = 1
Seeing and thinking = 1
Seeing and speaking = 1
Seeing and hearing = 1
Thinking and speaking = 1
Thinking and hearing = 1
Hearing and speaking = 1
Thinking and seeing and speaking = 1
Thinking and seeing and hearing = 1
Total = 12
Hope I didn’t miss any combinations… When you add any element to this process, such as speaking out loud (movement of your lips and tongue), or writing (movement of your hand, gripping the pen, putting the pen to paper) you add each step and each combination of steps — multiplying many times over the places in your brain that memory is stored.
Every time you do this with the same word (or verse), other memory cells store that same information and the ones where it is already stored are reinforced. If you include background elements such as music playing, fragrances wafting through the room, or walking around while reading, the memory effect is multiplied exponentially.
Here are some excellent verses to remember, and why we should remember them.
- “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
- “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (I Peter 2:1-3)
- “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (I Peter 5:8-9)
- “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (II Peter 1, v2)
- “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (v3)
- “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (v4)
- “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;” (v5)
- “and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;” (v6)
- “and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (v7)
- “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v8)
- “But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (v9)
- “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,” (v10)
- “and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (v11)
Learning and remembering the scriptures is essential for increasing our knowledge of God’s word and will, and with it, increasing our faith.
For part one, see Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Really?