So – what was going on during that year after truly fully committing my life to Christ – and yet continuing to struggle with the same old temptations and weaknesses? What was happening behind the scenes, spiritually? And then what broke – what changed – when I started memorizing Scripture? I think it could’ve been something like this:
Jesus was teaching in Matthew 12:43-45, and He said this:
When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places looking for a place rest – but does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean, and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first! That is how it will be with this wicked generation.
Have you ever been digging a hole at the beach too close to the water – as soon as you get the shovel out of the sand, more water and sand caves in, filling in the hole!
In science, what happens inside an enclosed space if you remove all the air? You create a “vacuum”, where the pressure outside is greater than the pressure inside, and whatever is closest to the opening gets sucked in to fill the void.
(You may be familiar with two high school science experiments: 1-where you can use air pressure to crush a can be heating it and then submerging it upside-down in cold water, and 2-where you can light matches in a beaker to create a vacuum that will suck a hard-boiled egg into the opening!)
Jesus teaches us in the story from Matthew 12:43-45 that when you remove the bad from your life, you have to put good right there in its place, or else the bad will rush back in to fill the void with even more detrimental force than it had when it left!
I think that is what Scripture memory became for me a year after fully committing my life to Christ. I had swept out the bad, but I had left my soul unoccupied and vacant. This created a vacuum that could not be sustained. Without good to fill the void, the bad kept rushing right back in! It was terribly defeating and frustrating…
Then I started memorizing Scriptures, and I found myself armed with new defenses against those old evil things that used to defeat me. We see this same example in Jesus when He was tempted by Satan in the desert. For every one of Satan’s attempts to lure Jesus into sin, Jesus’ response was to recite Scripture.
In those dark moments of doubt, attack, temptation, and despair, Jesus did not turn to his journal of sermon notes. He did not bring up BibleGateway.com on his smart phone. He called upon THE best defense there is: the HARD-hard copy of God’s Word that was written on His heart through years of memorization and recitation.
I want to be prepared to face the dark, tempting, doubt-filled, and desperate moments of my life. And I want that for you, too! The witness of Scripture – and indeed of Jesus Himself – is that the best armor is the Word of God, imprinted on your soul through memorization.
The good news is that I – and you, too! – WE ALL are already experts at memorization! We all do it constantly – all the time! We CAN memorize God’s Word!