Our summer reading for work this past summer was to memorize two psalms and the opening passage of John. The assignment fortunately coincided with particularly broken spirit, and I was longing to dwell more richly in the word, so I filled up pages and pages of writing these passages over and over. And though I had memorized verses before, I found that dwelling richly in whole passages was so good for me that I decided to continue on with a couple more passages, Romans 8 and Hebrews 12.
I've also found that nothing puts me in my place like trying to memorize scripture. You couldn't sit me in the corner with a dunce cap long enough to create the same amount of feelings of shame and inadequacy induced by trying to learn a few verses of scripture by heart. My mind is so dull and slow that these two chapters alone might very well may take me the rest of my life, but I suppose that dwelling in those two chaptes for the rest of my life might do me a whole lot of good.
Not only am I not very far along, I often find on mornings like this one that I have regressed several verses. This morning in particular, Romans 8: 5-8 just would not come out. But as I went over and over them, wanting to beat my head against the wall in frustration, I realized that maybe, just maybe, the Lord was trying to get his word into my thick skull in another way. I mean, read the verses for crying out loud!
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.I have been in such a battle with my own mind lately that you think it wouldn't have taken me WEEKS to figure out that these verses were extremely relevant to my life at the moment. Did I mention how thick and dull my brian can be at times? Just this morning, I woke up early (thanks to the lovely birds outside my open window on this glorious fall morning), and had to struggle not to let my mind wander into unhealthy places. And no, I'm not detailing those unhealthy places for you, so stop wondering what they are.
I mean, this is a battle, people! No wonder my mind doesn't want me to hold on to these verses because it would rather be picking daisies in la-la land than submitting to the father of my Spirit and living in peace. I am nuts and I know Christ! Imagine if I didn't! Oy!
I've had some interesting conversations with sweet friends lately about putting on the armor of God, the power of Satan to deceive even those who have loved God for decades, and the need to humbly come before him every day in prayer. I have never been so aware of my need to stubbornly and forcefully arm myself with grace and mercy and truth and the righteousness of Christ because those flaming arrows sent from Satan are aimed with stunning accuracy at my weakest points. And frantically moving my little tiny shield is no longer doing me any good. So I'm diving into big passages of scripture with big meaning, and rolling around in them until all the indecent parts of my soul are awkwardly exposed and then graciously covered with Christ's righteousness.
And that is the best super power of all, to be exposed and then covered by the relentless grace and mercy of Christ, to submit, as it says in Hebrews 12, to the Father of our Spirits and live! Because if I could shoot lasers out my hands or get big and green to squash whoever annoyed me or beat up anyone I wanted, then we'd all be in trouble.