Memorize the Mind of God and See Your Own Mind Changed

Memorize the Mind of God and See Your Own Mind Changed

“I want to keep it handy in case I need it,” she said, matter-of-factly.

She wasn’t talking about a flashlight.

Not a package of tissues.

Not even a cell phone…
(They hadn’t been invented in 1978.)

She was talking about Isaiah 55.

I liked it,” she went on.  “So I memorized it.”

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

The words poured from her lips, because they were, indeed, handy, and although the pale yellow V.W. Rabbit continued on its way south down Route 1, I had been stopped in my tracks at the miracle of memorization.  My friend had captured for herself the treasure of thirteen verses of exquisite beauty and stunning promises — mountains and hills bursting into song and trees clapping their hands – all for the LORD’s glory and renown.

There is no way she could have known that my view of Scripture would be forever changed on that bumpy pot-holed ride, for I saw clearly that, in my friend’s mind, the Words of God were a banquet — all delightful — and she would have devoured them all given the time and opportunity.      

Borrowed Words to Change Your Mind

I decided to start with the Psalms, words of praise to fill a mouth that was unpracticed in the exaltation of a majestic God.  I knew that praising God was defined as appreciating His attributes and thanking Him for His blessings, but a dusty list of multi-syllabic theological adjectives caught in my throat and felt forced and unnatural.  However, borrowing the words of Psalm 103, thanksgiving pours from my heart even today, because God:

. . . forgives all my iniquities, heals all my diseases, redeems my life from destruction, crowns me with loving kindness and tender mercies and satisfies my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s”

When I’m tired and empty, I find that Psalm 63 frames my soul’s thirst “in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, to see [His] power and His glory. . .  because His lovingkindness is better than life.”

This is more than just having good theology or thinking God’s thoughts after Him.  Memorizing Scripture forces the mind to turn over the words, to consider their order, to linger over their meaning, and to recognize patterns and parallels.  This allows Truth to change the folds and creases of my gray matter so that my every thought is impacted. 

Could this be what my wayward heart needs in order to stand with Paul in “bring[ing] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ?” (II Corinthians 10:5)

Learning the Truth by Heart

When I go for a walk, it is not unusual for me to carry a few 3×5 cards in my pocket so that I can review verses that I am working on, because even my pocket isn’t near enough when my thoughts need adjusting, when my outlaw heart starts hammering itself an idol out of scraps and trinkets, or when I hear the hiss of lies about the basis of God’s love for me.  When this happens, the Truth that holds me in the faith is a reset button to “set my mind” on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5), on things above (Colossians 3:2).

Like any spiritual discipline, memorization creates space in my life for God. It heightens my awareness of His scandalous grace, deepens my listening to the voice of the God who has spoken into space and time, and puts my mind into a posture of intent to obey and to follow. Living and powerful, His thoughts sift and winnow my own, revealing motives that I would rather not see.

Through Scripture, I am able to absorb the intimate vocabulary of worship, the raw expressions of lament, or the wisdom of instruction that sets me on a right path – not because I’m racking up points on an “Extreme Discipleship Scorecard,” but because in the process of memorizing Scripture, I find the meaning of learning the Truth by heart.

Memorizing Scripture forces the mind to turn over the words, to consider their order, to linger over their meaning, and to recognize patterns. Truth changes the folds and creases of my gray matter so that my every thought is impacted.

And Now Let’s Talk Books…

For my entire adult life, I have been enamored with efficiency. Even now, when I should be older and wiser, my online bio describes me as an advocate for “the prudent use of little minutes.” A neat row of daily checkmarks is the reward for time well-managed, but In Good Time is Jen Pollock Michel’s well-constructed argument that time was never given to us to be managed.

How is it, then, that we can stay true to our American Protestant roots without allowing time to become “a lash held in the hands of some imperious master.” Set against the backdrop of her family’s COVID-19 lockdown, Michel’s journey is a movement from “time anxiety” to “time faith.” Like Brother Lawrence, the believer is called to “do all things for the love of God”–regardless of the tallying of hours and days.

In keeping with her previous book (A Habit Called Faith), each chapter describes a habit for readers to bring to our relationship with time. With lyrical prose and biblical fidelity, Jen Pollock Michel writes from the vulnerable place of one who has failed and been forgiven or plowed her determined way to a finish line only to realize that God is more concerned with the slow work of forming wisdom in her heart.

I am coming away from In Good Time with a new appreciation for the goodness of time. I am encouraged to come to my daily do-list with “Why?” as my biggest question in place of my prevailing “How?” And I’ve been startled into awareness of all the ways I have made an idol of time. God has a way of toppling our false gods–in mercy, freeing us from their rule over us.

God, who lives outside of time, has given us the gift of hours and days, not so that we can fret over their passing, but so, like the children we are, we will have something to offer back to our Father in love.

Holding You in the Light,

A neat row of daily checkmarks is the reward for time well-managed, but In Good Time (via @ReadBakerBooks) is @Jenpmichel ‘s well-constructed argument that time was never given to us to be managed. #bookreview

Did You Know that I Also Publish a Monthly Newsletter?

Every month I send a newsletter with biblical encouragement straight to my subscribers’ email inboxes. Frequently, I share free resources, and the newsletter is where everything lands first. I’m committed to the truth that women can become confident followers of God and students of his Word, and it’s my goal to help you along that path.

To add this free resource to your pursuit of biblical literacy, simply CLICK HERE. There, on Substack’s website you’ll find a prompt that looks just like this image for Living Our Days with Michele Morin. Over on that site, simply enter your email and then click on the purple “SUBSCRIBE” button.

You’ll receive a welcome letter to confirm your subscription, and then monthly encouragement in your email inbox.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Many thanks to Baker Publishers and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

This post appeared first HERE at Bethany’s place.

8 thoughts on “Memorize the Mind of God and See Your Own Mind Changed”

  1. Oh Michele, could it be? Time as something to give back to our Father… I’m deeply intrigued at your comments on this book… I will be thinking on these things. Thank you!


  2. Oh Michele, once again your tender prose has swept into my heart prompting me to try harder to memorize the Words of the Life.


  3. There is probably no better way to mediate on Scripture than to memorize it. Then we have the added benefit of the Holy Spirit bringing it back to mind as we need it. I’ve often been amazed at how some writers from years past were so filled with Scripture that its phrases flowed out of them.


    1. I agree. The effort required to memorize actually becomes a precious time of meditation, and I love mulling over the words when my hands are busy.
      And I love it when an author or speaker thinks in OT or NT truths!

      Liked by 1 person

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