What You Remember Most Matters Most

My mom comes from a large family. She was one of nine brothers and sisters, and her parents also came from large families. Family reunions on the Fridley side of my family were always huge events growing up. I felt like I was meeting a new cousin or aunt every year. One of those aunts was my Aunt Virginia. She was a very proper, southern woman. Her husband, Jimmy, was a renowned lawyer who was well-known in the DC/Metro area. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Uncle Jimmy in his heyday. Later in life, he developed Alzheimer’s disease. For those who don’t know, Alzheimer’s is the slow degeneration of the mind. In most cases, people revert back to the mind of a child before the mind goes completely.

By the time I got to meet Uncle Jimmy, he was in the child-like stage. He talked about things in very basic terms, he needed a diaper, and he would go on and on and on about his love for beets. This once powerful member of the judicial system in the capital of our country was reduced to childlike phrasing and a lack of control over his body. In the midst of all of his memory loss and degenerating body, the one thing he never forgot was Aunt Virginia. He loved her deeply, and she loved him the same. It was obvious the role that she played in his life. 

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:28–30

We’ve been talking about memorizing scripture this week, and I think we need to remember something very important when we try to put God’s Word into memory. The more in love with God we are, the easier it is to remember His words. The more we place God first in our lives, the more Scripture will matter to us. If I love my wife, I will want to know the things that make her happiest. I don’t want to work in opposition to her. How much more, then, should we want to please God with what we do, and how much more should we be leaning on every teaching that we read in the Bible?

As a kid, I collected baseball and football cards. I could tell you the stats of almost every star in the MLB and the NFL. I was a hardcore fan who was devouring statistics and names like they were prime ribeyes cooked by Bobby Flay. I couldn’t get enough of them. My head was full of information that I thought was important. Obviously, that wasn’t necessarily true. Those sports numbers had, in a way, become my bible. They were the things that I poured my passion into. I was a machine when it came to spitting out how many home runs and RBIs Andre Dawson had hit in 1987. I could tell you who the top ten Wide Receivers were in the NFL and how many yards they received. I knew birthdays, hometowns, and in some cases, favorite foods. I was the living embodiment of Trivial Pursuit Sports Edition.

But what did that accomplish? How did that knowledge change my life or offer me a future? It didn’t. I was just a human sports computer that could spit out sports data like Chat GPT can write poems. The poems aren’t awful, and they rhyme, but there’s no soul. My nuggets of sports knowledge were just empty numbers. 

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1–3

When our minds are centered on Christ, we learn how to focus on the things above, and not the things here on Earth. There becomes this sense of urgency to devour anything that we can when it comes to God’s Word and gaining more of His knowledge. So many of us say we can’t memorize scripture, but we can shoot out statistics about our favorite sports. We can quote lines from a bunch of our favorite movies. We can walk down a row of classic cars and list off engine sizes, colors, and body types of each vehicle. The truth is, that we remember most what matters most. 

This isn’t a memory situation. The human mind can process and remember things at a breakneck pace. Our brains are supercomputers that can work faster than any computer on the planet. The only thing that limits our brains from learning is interest. If someone comes to me and says I can’t memorize scripture, I’m immediately thinking, “No. Scripture isn’t that important to you.” 

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:5–6

In the early 80’s, there was a phrase that gained steam in the computing world, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The G.I.G.O effect. In other words, whatever data you're inputting into a computer, that’s the data you’ll get out. It’s no different with our minds. If we are only putting filth into our heads, that will eventually be the outpouring of ourselves. However, if we are filling ourselves up daily with God’s Word, we will start to see the life of Christ being lived out in our own lives, and remembering God’s Word won’t be a burden, but a normal outpouring of ourselves.

When certain situations arise in our lives, we won’t turn to Dr. Phil for the answers. We’ll turn to the Bible. And, in doing so, we’ll start hiding God’s Word in our hearts in a way we never knew possible. When our friends are going through loss, we can point them to God’s Word and give them comfort. When other friends or family are dealing with marital issues, we’ll have scripture that we can share and use to encourage them as they work through their problems. 

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Ps 119:129–130

To truly hide God’s Word in our hearts, we have to clean house in our hearts. If we are too caught up in the things of this world, we’ll never have the focus needed to memorize Scripture. Priorities are everything in life, and what we prioritize the most will get the largest space in our hearts. So take some inventory and ask yourself, “What matters most to me?” Once we can answer that question with “Christ”, then we’re ready to start filling, not just our hearts, but our minds with the Words of God Himself. What you remember most matters most. 

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