Growing up at Cottage Hill Baptist School, I was required to memorize a verse of Scripture every week. Add to that the Scripture memorization required for Bible Drill and encouraged at Vacation Bible School and Sunday School, and I built up quite an arsenal at a young age. When I left for public school, I abandoned my regular practice of memorizing Scripture. After all, I figured I had already locked away any verse worth memorizing!
In college, I realized it had been several years since I had actively participated in Scripture memorization. But then, it seemed unnecessary. I had Bibles falling off my bookshelves and streaming to me through the internet. Why did I need to memorize when the Bible was so readily accessible? After all, the ancient Hebrews and early Christians memorized the Bible because they didn't have their own print copies, right?
I am recently rediscovering not only the joy, but also the purpose for memorizing Scripture. And that purpose is reflected in today's verse: that we might not sin. When I have God's word burning inside of me, I am less likely to fall into sin. First, because I am reminded that the activity goes against God's perfect plan for me. Secondly, because God's word brings conviction to my spirit. I may know in theory that something is sin, but when a specific verse of Scripture comes soaring into my heart, I am less likely to live in a way that is displeasing to God. And I'm not talking about Scriptures full of what not to do or Scriptures that define and outline sins. It's usually Scriptures that speak to the holiness of God, the goodness of God, the love of God, and the grace and mercy of God. Or perhaps a Scripture that speaks of the wonders of the cross or the Incarnation. When those things become so much a part of me that they are rooted in my heart, then I am more likely to live in a way that is pleasing to God.