Self-discipline is key for spiritual growth. The self is wayward, immoral, and compulsive, in constant need of governance. Just try to pray for 10 minutes without becoming distracted. It is very hard (if not impossible!) to do.
In his grace, God has given the church certain spiritual disciplines to assist in the pursuit of self-governance. These disciplines are the practices and habits found in Scripture and historically practiced by the people of God for the promotion of spiritual growth. (Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 4). These include Scripture intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, service, stewardship, fasting, solitude, journaling, and study.
One spiritual discipline that has shaped our theological tradition is Scripture memorization. Wednesday nights at our church (except in the Summers) are dedicated to this discipline. We have a wonderful and thriving AWANA program. May God continue to bless this ministry.
Sadly, though, we too often view Scripture memorization as important for children (a la AWANA), not for adults. We adults fail to be as ambitious for Scripture memorization for ourselves as we are for the children of the church. What justification do we have for this inconsistency? There is none. In neglecting Scripture memorization, we stymie our spiritual growth.
Biblical justification for Scripture memory comes from Ps 119:11. It states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” To “store up” God’s word is to read, internalize, treasure, and memorize. One of the purposes of Scripture memory, as explained in this Psalm, is to protect the Christian from sin. God blesses us with his word in order that we might not fall away from him. To memorize Scripture is to take an active step in protecting ourselves from disobedience.
If you are persuaded and convicted that Scripture memory needs to play a larger role in your life, I recommend you visit https://scripturememory.com/downloadables/andrewdavis.pdf. Andrew Davis, the author of this booklet, has memorized 42 books of the Bible. This is an excellent resource for extended Scripture memory.
My prayer for CBC is that we—both young and old; as individuals and as a corporate body—would treasure God’s Word so that we do not sin against him.