Everyone is busy arguing about New Year’s resolutions – whether you should set goals or whether goals are not the answer and other things are more important.
I’m not going to tell you whether you should set New Year’s resolutions or not. But I do want to tell you about one thing you can do in 2016 that will invite God to work incredible changes in your life.
Over the summer, I had the privilege to meet and talk with an inspirational man of God – Cliff Barrows. Just in case you don’t know who Cliff Barrows is, let me fill you in.
Cliff Barrows met Billy Graham in 1945, and he and George Beverly Shea were music program directors for the crusade ministry. Their team did 417 crusades in all 50 states and 185 countries over 58 years. They shared the Gospel with 215 million people in live audiences. Mr. Barrows has also announced “The Hour of Decision,” a Billy Graham radio program that airs every week, for the last 65 years. He is 93 years old.
When I met Mr. Barrows, the Spirit of God just seemed to ooze out of him. Everything he said was filled with such wisdom, scripture, and poetry. I got to spend almost an hour and a half across the table from him, just listening. He told me that the key to life is hiding God’s Word in your heart.
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22
Mr. Barrows cannot see well anymore, now that he is in his 90s. He looked at his wife Ann as he told me that it is one of his greatest sorrows that he can no longer read the Word of God himself. Instead, he listens to endless audiobooks of the Bible, and Ann reads scripture to him for hours each day.
Seeing the love Mr. Barrows has for the Word of God inspired me. I decided sitting there with him that I wanted to start hiding God’s words in my heart with more intentionality. Mr. Barrows suggested the Navigator’s Topical Memory System.
Here is the link: http://bit.ly/1LQKVZ7
The Navigator’s system comes with nifty little flash cards and memory tips that can help you memorize. However, being a college student, I didn’t want to spend $15 on some cards, so I pasted the list of verses and topics it includes into a note on my phone for easy access.
Each time I start a new verse, I type it into another note in my phone and try to reference that note as often as possible until I have it memorized. I am going pretty slowly. I’m about six months in and have only 18 verses memorized.
But since I have started intentionally memorizing God’s word, I have seen my life change. When I am working on a verse, I see my sensitivity to God’s spirit skyrocket. The Holy Spirit brings God’s words to mind right when I need them in my daily life.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
Don’t fall into the trap of memorizing verses to memorize verses. There is no benefit in that, and your motivation will soon wear thin. Memorize verses with the intention of learning, chewing, understanding, and applying what God says.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Memorize verses because you are in love with their writer and want to get to know Him. Memorize verses because they have meaning that is applicable to every moment of your life. Memorize verses because you want to see God work in your life.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
The memorization process is different for everyone, there are even several apps you might find helpful, but remember to keep it simple. God will use it to change your life.