OK. The memorization.
I remember when I was a child and I memorized verses in AWANA. It was such a chore! I did, however, receive my coveted check in the box, and that was a good thing for me. Alas, I never did complete all the upper levels. Somehow as I got older, the reward for memorizing needed to be more than a check in the box. My dad tried to motivate me in a different way by adding a monetary reward to a challenge of memorization. Strangely, that also failed to be a strong motivator. My self-righteous side likes to think that I was above being bribed, but I humbly admit that I was just lazy and the amount I had to memorize in order to be rewarded seemed utterly unattainable. The mountain was too big to even try.
I tried again a number of years ago (can't remember when), with a plan to memorize the "Roman Road" verses. I tried to motivate myself with the desire to witness effectively with this method. I'm not sure when that died, but it went the way of the others. I've had very cute flip-card notecards that have been filled out with numerous verses I have tried to memorize, some successfully and others, not so much. I've tried to do a verse a week. I think that lasted a week. I finally gave up. God's word was so hidden in my heart, I couldn't remember where I'd put it. I just hoped that in His merciful grace, He would reveal it back to me when I most needed it!
God's word really shouldn't be a hide-and-seek game in the heart, though. I've been convicted of this many times in my life, and I know I will fail at attempts to memorize again, but I keep trying. I figure if I keep trying and ultimately succeed at a few verses, it isn't all for not. I really do want and desire to have God's word more fully available to me. I want to be able to use the Sword of the Spirit immediately if needed. If I'm under any attack, it won't do me much good to run to the closet and search for the sword under all the rubble. It needs to be ready.
I have learned some things about myself in the last few years that have hindered this readiness: I am not at all self-disciplined. I desperately need accountability in most of what I do. I only respond to this from people who are on my path. I usually do not seek accountability!
I have been doing a study on Esther from Beth Moore. I recently went to her Living Proof Ministries blog and saw that she had challenged her "followers" to memorize with her. It was a year committment to memorize 2 verses a month, on the 1st and 15th. I was really excited since that seemed like an attainable goal for me! I tend to bite off a huge amount, tire of chewing, and spit it out. This seemed like a much smaller bite to take and that I could really enjoy the process. If you'd like to join, it all starts here.
I love to study. I don't know if I display that much, but I really do. I love to get into deep discussions, deep studies, and things that are hard to grasp. I love to learn something new. Beth's method involves a bit more than just picking a verse and memorizing it. I'll share: It's acronym is RENEW.
R: Read it! This is not just the simple command, but to really read it. Read it aloud, read it often, and read it slowly. Read it in context. READ IT!
E: Examine it! This is where I really like this method. This is where the context really comes in. I want to examine who is speaking, to whom are they speaking, whether it is in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person. I want to know the story around the verse. This also gives the opportunity to find little ways to make memorization easier. Examine the pentameter and if it would go with a tune I know. Perhaps it has an easy way to remember the order with key words being alphabetical or not! This could go on as deep or strange as you take it!
N: Need it! This is another one that I like. Instead of taking a verse that is next on the list, finding one that speaks to me at this moment. It's more likely that I will remember what I need! I know we need the entire Word, but at times we need more specific direction!
E: Echo it! This is where the memorization really starts. It began more with meditation. I had usually just used this step in my memorization efforts, and though it works, it works best for me within the entire method. This is pretty self-explanitory. Repetition.
W: Weild it! This is truly the Sword of the Spirit! My nephew has a "Bible Man" sword that when you push a button, it proclaims, "The sword of the spirit is the Word of God!" I think of that every time I pick up my verses! In her video tutorial on her blog, Beth explains more of how we are to use this weapon. It is our only proactive weapon we have to use against Satan and it is only to be used against him and his dark forces. We are not to use it against other people. I found that to be profound. Speaking truth through scripture is a wonderful tool, but not in a pharisitical manner. It's best used against the forces of darkness.
I have joined in the "Siesta's" on her blog in this goal of 24 verses this year. I have already come across some rather negative blows on my quest, mainly that it is not enough. I have chosen to know that God is pleased with this effort that I desire to not only memorize, but to meditate on His Word. If I am moved to do more, I can always do more, but my goal is to do this much. I have started with:
1. Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11
2. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8
3. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
4. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3
5. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36
6. Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9
Fascinating that choosing scripture can be so reavealing...!