By Sandra Sheridan
Psalm 119:11 “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against you.”
Think back over the years to some of the things you committed to memory. The poem a teacher required you to learn. A song you listened to over and over until the lyrics found a permanent place in your brain. These memories often stick with us throughout our lives. They reside close to the surface and are easy to find when you seek to recall them. This collection of stored knowledge can form beliefs and evoke certain feelings years later. Sometimes they even become an unconscious guide to direct our lives. This is why it is crucial not only to read God’s word, but to commit it to memory. Memorization is one of the most powerful life investments you can make.
As I think back over my life there are certain things that have stayed with me over the years. I regularly sing a few little Scottish ditties to my grandchildren. These are the same ones my great-grandmother sang to me in her native Scottish brogue.
I have not played the flute in years, but when I pick it up my fingers automatically move to the holes needed for the tune You’re a Grand Old Flag. I memorized this patriotic song in 1976 when I was 9 years old. I marched in our town’s parade as part of a fife and drum core to celebrate our country’s bicentennial birthday. To this day I can perform this song with the best of them.
But some of the most helpful exercises I have practiced include the memorization of Bible verses. The Scriptures I committed to memory have stuck with me and been a comfort and source of wisdom throughout my life. Many times God has brought them to mind just when I needed them most. They help in decision-making, give guidance in uncertainty, and provide comfort in sadness. The Psalmist found that memorizing God’s word protected him from sin and kept his way pure.
We would do well to continue developing this important discipline of memorization. I am older now and my brain doesn’t hold information as well as it once did, but that is not a reason to give up. The continual recitation and practice of memorization keeps the brain limber and provides benefits beyond what we can imagine. God uses it to speak to us as we live our daily lives.
So as you sift through the files of your mind to retrieve some of your old memories, make sure you regularly add to what is already there. Spend time every day in God’s word and hide it in your heart. It will be one of the most powerful life investments you ever make.