Do you know what it’s like when you’re not sure how to respond to something or to someone? Maybe you need the right words, or maybe the right actions; have you had this uncertainty?
Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. Luke 12:11-12
This passage of Scripture is referring to confessing Christ before others, particularly when being persecuted. As with all of God’s word, it is true and applicable to us today. Along with times of persecution, it makes sense that the Holy Spirit would bring us His words to say in other circumstances too, helping us to know how to respond to others.
As we began 2019, my friend April and I purposed to memorize Scripture together. One particular week I was memorizing Ephesians 4:31-32 (Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.) and, in the process of memorizing this passage, someone hurt me pretty badly. Not unusual in this fallen world to become hurt by others–and to hurt others ourselves. But, even so, how do you respond in the ‘hurt of the moment’?
The Holy Spirit gave me the right words, and actions, through the Scripture passage April and I were storing in our hearts that very week. His timeliness was a treasure and kept me from responding in sin. To respond in kindness and forgiveness was only a work that He could do; it wasn’t my flesh’s desire. But, here’s the thing! As I obeyed the Lord by applying His word, it became my flesh’s desire! Through storing God’s word in my heart, God gave me the words and actions for a godly response and He softened my angry heart to love the one who had hurt me.
Was it just having the right words that was the benefit? While that was necessary and helpful, I believe it was the process of storing God’s word in my heart throughout the week that motivated my obedience. See, I’ve memorized Scripture in the past by the old college method: cramming it into my head the night before (or the morning of church before quoting it to April). While that might get the item checked off my list, it’s not really storing God’s word in my *heart*. It’s more like storing it in my short-term memory for a few hours.
But, when I immerse myself in the Scripture throughout the week that is how it reaches my heart. Not only does it help me when it’s time to quote the Scripture with my friend, but it saturates my thoughts in the process, it is woven into my conversations in the process, and it is revealed in my actions. Immersing myself in Scripture that I desire to memorize often looks like me just repeating the verse(s) over and over again out loud as I read it, then as I try to look away, then as I practice with my family members. There are many methods of actual memorization (repeating it verbally, writing it out, typing it out, as just a few examples), but the point is to immerse yourself so God’s word squeezes out of your mind, your words, and your actions.
It’s the beginning of July. Are you looking for a way to store God’s word in your heart more? If so, why don’t you join us? Ask a friend to memorize with you, or just to listen to what you’ve memorized so you can be kept accountable. April has created a snazzy printable to go along with this post–we’d love for you to print it out and store it in your heart! I pray that more of us would glorify God by knowing His word and having it flow out of our conversations and lives.