In today’s post, we asked Ruth Chou Simons to share a bit of her heart on the importance of Scripture memory.
You may have heard the familiar quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that goes like this, “A woman is like a tea bag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Whether Roosevelt actually said it or not, it’s well loved and widely quoted because, well, who doesn’t love the idea of finding out you’re strong and capable when the going gets tough?
Everyone wants to be the best version of herself in the worst of times. If pressure and stress squeeze and release what’s really going on inside our hearts and minds, then what fills us up really matters. It always comes out, in time.
This year—2020—has more than adequately proven to all of us who are touched by the effects of a global pandemic that hot water, or the most difficult of circumstances, doesn’t always reveal strength and character in us. Some of us have seen our fears, dependencies, insecurities, and even our beliefs exposed.
Without distractions, social engagements, or solid solutions to devastating problems, I’ve sensed anxiety, impatience, and irrational thoughts bubble to the surface.
Has the upside down turn of events and stress of this year uncovered a reservoir of truth or has this year unearthed an anemic faith?
The Bible tells us that “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart” (Luke 6:45, CSB). That means we are perpetually storing up in ourselves what we will ultimately overflow from us. Our mouths—and accordingly, our thoughts—will produce what our hearts fuel.
What is filling you up? What is occupying your heart and mind?
Is it social media, Netflix®, or shopping online?
We can’t expect to draw from a well that’s dry or to harvest spiritual fruit from lives that are not rooted and established in Christ.
That’s why it’s so important to be filled up in the Word of God and to hide it in your heart. The practice of preaching truth to yourself is simply to instruct your own heart on what Scripture says is true. Truth is to replace the anxious thoughts that come naturally with what God says about Himself, what He says about us, how He enables us to respond in faith, and what He does to sustain us.
The psalmist continually preaches mini sermons to his own heart, rehearsing what is true when he is fearful and despairing. We learn so much from his examples in Psalm 42 and Psalm 103. And then, the apostle Paul in the New Testament writes letters as heartfelt sermons to the churches in each of his epistles we read now in the Bible. Listening to sermons isn’t just for Sunday and preaching isn’t just for pastors. We—all of us—must learn to tell ourselves biblical truth and preach the gospel to ourselves. And since preaching truth to ourselves isn’t repeating encouraging mantras, we actually need to know the Word of God and be filled with it.
When we memorize Scripture, we are keeping it accessible in the storehouses of our minds. I love the Latin phrase that translates to: “All that is mine I carry with me.”1 The significance of this expression is that—especially in our current context of digital logins and cloud storage of all information and assets—what’s stored in our hearts and minds is what we truly possess.
Is the truth of your identity in Christ at the ready when you are feeling doubtful and tempted to measure yourself against worldly standards?
Are the promises of Scripture tucked away in your heart to recall when you feel discouraged and distressed?
Do you know what the Bible says about our victory in Christ so that you can combat the enemy’s deceit when you’re tempted to give up?
You see, when the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you,” (ESV) you can also consider it this way: We store God’s Word in our hearts so that the lie of self-sufficiency is replaced with love and worship of our faithful God.
Rehearsing Scripture and storing it away in our hearts is a safeguard and a refilling of our reservoir of faith. Be truth-filled because you delight in God’s Word. Be truth-filled because it truly satisfies. Be truth-filled as a way of defense. Be truth-filled when you’re in active battle. Be truth-filled so that you won’t be lured away in sin. Be truth-filled because God’s “love is better than life” (Psalm 63:3, ESV). Be truth-filled because when you are filled with truth, truth is what overflows.
Ruth Chou Simons is an entrepreneur, speaker, and best-selling author of Beholding and Becoming and GraceLaced. She shares her journey of God’s grace intersecting daily life with word and paintbrush through an online shoppe at GraceLaced.com and her Instagram® community. Ruth and her husband, Troy, are grateful parents to six boys—their greatest adventure.
Below, we’ve included some phone wallpapers, printables, and fill-in-the-blank sheets to help you practice memorizing Scripture. We hope this will help you rehearse Scripture and store it in your heart, so you can be truth-filled!
1. A Dictionary of Quotations, in Most Frequent Use, second edition (London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row, 1798).