It’s not unfamiliar, I think – that fraught feeling of failure, the sinking stench of shame.
Surely I’m not the only one who has felt it, deep in my bones.
It springs up at the oddest times, the quietest moments…that second when the happiest of laughs spills out of a mouth opened wide.
It catches your breath whole.
I sat down in my grey chair this morning, in front of a fireplace that no longer burns now that Spring has arrived, pausing a moment with my Bible unopened in my lap.
Shame, discouragement, sadness all seemed to want to keep those pages closed.
Today was a catch-up day in my Bible Reading Challenge, so I really could have just stood up and gone about my day. Taken a break, and had a few more moments to listen to a podcast or two.
Instead, I turned to the optional reading, and sunk even further as I read the opening lines,
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the way of the Lord!Psalm 119:1
I know my way is not blameless – I know of the ways that I have walked.
How could I keep reading?
I know that I’m not alone – I know this. How many people carry weight on their shoulders of failure and moments they wish they could do over?
Three or four years ago now, I decided to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. I’ve written about it before. Each year I get to March or April and I begin to fall behind and by June I have given up, resolving to begin again the next year.
In less than two months I will turn 40.
How is that possible?
But if I recognize anything, it’s how little time I actually have.
So, why try and memorize Scripture?
To be honest? Because it feels right. It feels good. It feels like the godly thing to do…so that when I encourage my kids to memorize the Bible, I won’t be seen as a hypocrite.
But what does Scripture actually say?
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.Psalm 119:11
Didn’t Jesus Himself live out this truth in Matthew 4 when faced by the Tempter?
Even Eve knew the words of God, but they hadn’t settled deep enough in her heart to become a weapon to use against the demonic attack. Instead, she twisted the true words of God, and fell.
Memorizing the Word of God *is* good, it’s right, but not for the reasons I thought three or four years ago.
Paul, writing to Timothy wrote those words that are engrained so deeply,
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
God’s Word, that is living and active, breathes life into a soul suffocating under a weight of shame – it’s why I fought to open the pages this morning…why I read past the first verses of Psalm 119. It’s why I begged for eyes to see the wonders of His grace and mercy.
Shame longs to silence, but Solomon wrote words that fight against that prison,
…for the righteous falls seven times and rises again…Proverbs 24:16
The righteous, the ones who have placed their hope in the saving power of Jesus Christ, don’t rise on their own – they rise again in *His* strength, because of *His* mercy.
As the sun grew brighter and my coffee grew colder, I decided to rise again for Christ’s glory, and begin to memorize again – to strengthen and equip for the fight.
I’m leaving the Sermon on the Mount for now, and instead focusing on Psalm 119.
Maybe you would want to join me?
…but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.Ephesians 5:18b-21
I’ll be posting a schedule and downloads soon – but maybe a community of us memorizing together, taking up the Sword of the Spirit and encouraging one another to press into the goodness of Christ would shine His light into the places around us, would lift the weight of darkness that seems to surround so many.