Last week someone asked me, "What is God using to transform your heart?" "What is it that changes your mind and your heart and leads you to trust God's perspective more than the perspective of your flesh or the world around you?"
God has taken something that I have resisted since Jr. High and turned me from repulsion to real appreciation for it.
It started something like this. God I don't know what to do today during my time out with you. What should I do? I went through my typical list of choices. Everything seemed flat. Then I had a moment when I sensed the Lord wanted me to start to learn by heart a passage of scripture. What scripture? I was teaching out of Galatians at the time so it was where I began.
Wow! A couple of weeks into it I started to wonder why do I like this so much when I have hated it , and rebelled against it for so long. What was different?
This is what I believe happened. In the beginning of my walk with the Lord I had been told to memorize for a competition or to have to say out loud in a group setting of some kind. Both of those terrify me. So as I continued my journey with the Lord, every time the invitation came from a person to "memorize" a verse or passage all those past emotions came to the surface. So I avoided it or said I just don't seem to be able to "memorize."
Now that's just plain crazy. I knew it when I would use it as an excuse. It's crazy because as a professional I had to take one of those three day tests. That test requires you to memorize for six months to a year prior to the test. I was able to do that. My entire educational training, like it is for all of us, had been to memorize. We've all been trained to memorize. Certainly for some of us it is easier than for others but we are all capable of it.
The difference this time was that there was no agenda for how much I would learn or how long it would take. There was going to be no test at the end. As I started to learn the Word by heart, amazing things happened. One day a particular word would stick out over another. I would pray about questions I had or praise God for insights He gave me related to that word. It was absolutely not a chore it was an act of worship.
How did I memorize? I wrote the verses out. I walked around and memorized them. I said them out loud. I wrote the first letter of every word as I got to know the verses better. I did everything I could think of and best of all I asked God to help me. I believe with all my heart, God helped me.
Guess when I stopped being able to learn the Word by heart? When I started showing my husband how much I had memorized. I became proud. A proud heart is not a teachable heart. It took me some time to realize what had happened. I felt very bad about it when I did figure it out. I said I was sorry. God forgave me.
So why am I writing about this today, because I want you to know that the next time the Lord invites you to learn something by heart from His Word that it can be the most amazing and wonderful experience. God really does use it in your life to bless you in so many unexpected ways and in unanticipated circumstances.
Thank you for giving us Your Word. Help us to understand what you given us. Help us to be hungry for Your Word. Thank you that Your Word brings us into your presence in a way that nothing else does. Thank you for dealing with our fears so they can be taken away from us. Thank you for pursuing in us a change of mind and heart.