Because, honestly, real life is exhausting.
The demands on our time are often overwhelming. The minutes slip by into hours and the hours pass into days and the days fly into years. Suddenly, we’re 2 or 5 or 10 years down the road and we realize nothing much has changed.
Except maybe the lines around our eyes, or the color fading from our hair, or the anticipation of the future. Tomorrow has become something to dread because more responsibility awaits us with impossible expectation.
To say nothing of the influx of distraction that flits and flaunts in our faces.
So, well-intentioned as we are, we coast through life in the equivalent of cruise control and never really learn how to slow down enough to breathe, much less truly and deeply connect with God. And so our marriages suffer, our children gravitate to the world, our trips to church leave us stale and empty. Because we’re looking for something that doesn’t exist. Like a magic potent or a miracle pill. We want peace but we don’t want to do what it takes to find it.
As they say, nothing worth having is truly free. Except salvation, those of you grounded in truth may be saying. salvation is free. And you’re right. We’ve done nothing to earn it and we certainly don’t deserve it. But immersed as we are in a world of sin, doesn’t even salvation come at something of a cost?
To answer my own question, and to carefully keep my feet secure from the precipice of a very slippery slope that leads straight to hell by way of legalism, give me a second to walk that back. Because the shed blood of Christ bought our salvation, straight up and without question. Not only have we done nothing to earn it, there is not even anything we can do to make us deserving of it. It’s a gift. But not all gifts are received by eager recipients. And some are rejected altogether. The gift of salvation is no different.
So while salvation comes to us without cost, the act of receiving that gift really does require something of us. And here is where we get it all twisted inside out and backwards. Because right away we grab our mental notepad and pen and go to work making lists for ourselves of what that should look like.
We jot down reforms that need made.
We calculate carefully our tithes and free-will offerings.
We estimate about how much time we should spend in outreach. Not too much, mind you, but just enough to be enough. You know what I mean?
We throw a little scripture at our unsuspecting kids in our quest to bring them back to center.
We read a verse or two out of the Bible for ourselves so we can check it off our list.
We squeeze out a dry prayer in the morning and before each meal to cover the bases. We always plan to do it at night, as well, but somehow it usually doesn’t happen.
Do you see it? Do you see how we mentally defeat our own spiritual selves before we even start? Because the Christian life isn’t about lists, or good enoughs, or random encounters with Scripture. The Christian life is about intentionality. It’s about focus, and in a world producing ADHD like it’s the hope of the future, focus is hard to come by. But not only that, it’s hard to nail down once you do find it.
Because everything is screaming for our attention.
But if we would intentionally focus on building a relationship with God, allowing nothing else to trump in importance, the pieces would fall into place. Granted, those pieces may not fall where we think they should and some of those pieces may even fall by the wayside. That’s called living a God-led life.
So rather than making lists of do’s and dont’s, try looking for the face of Jesus intentionally. Look for Him in the love story that is the Bible. Read it determined to find yourself in it. Read it determined to find Him. Don’t get stressed or bored too quickly. Pray before you open it, ask for His Spirit to guide your mind to the truths He has for you that day, and then live there. Because the Bible is not only life-giving, it’s life changing.
If you read it, searching for treasure, you won’t have to list out your reforms. He’ll call you to them naturally. You’ll find rest from the rat-race and peace that you no longer have to try to be that which you aren’t…you’ll be free to be who He’s molding you into now that you finally stopped squirming enough to allow Him to mold.
And the best part is, you’ll infect your family. Or your friends. Because a person who is spending time with Christ, rather than one who is just trying to be Christian, is contagious in all the best ways.
Practical Help: A tip for family Scripture Memorization
One of my favorite tools for tucking Scripture in the minds and hearts of my family, is the website Scripture Box. (<<—-not an affiliate link) We use it daily in our morning and evening family worship times and it has helped us to memorize, and retain, many passages that breathe life and hope and love into us. We keep it low-key and relaxed, yet reverent. Memorization is a great workout for the brain but when it’s Scripture you’re memorizing, the benefit seems to be tenfold. And the very practice of continually memorizing new passages keeps us, and our children, thinking on God’s word.
This website is a breeze to set up. I believe there is a 30 day free trial and after that you pay $4.99 a year. You can set the same system up using index cards and a box, I just didn’t do as well with consistently keeping up with it as I do using the website.
Basically, you enter a verse that you’ll be working on daily to start. And you can add any verses you’ve already memorized and that you want to keep reviewing. As you memorize each verse and then add a new one, it rotates the older verses through so every day you’re working on your current verse as well as recalling one or more (depending on how many are in your inventory at any given time) selected previously memorized verses.
I don’t know how many verses we now have memorized, but the site is currently giving us our working verse each day as well as three others. And those three rotate with others, depending on the day. That’s the short, possibly confusing, version. Take a quick peek at the website and it’ll all make sense.
I don’t believe they have an app yet, but because we use the site daily, it shows up on the Frequently Visited section of my iPhone when I go to open a new tab. That makes it easy to click into, which refreshes to give us our current day’s verses.
I’d love to hear how you incorporate Scripture memory into your days!