March 12, 2015

Living in the Light of God’s Word

Psalm 119:9-16, 105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

—  Psalm 119:105

As a new believer, I learned from mentors that Scripture memorization is vital to following Jesus: "I have hidden your word in my heart." Memorizing helps with internalizing God's Word. I also learned that memorizing Scripture requires discipline.

Psalm 119:105 is the first verse I learned. The Word in our hearts enlightens and enlivens life. God's Word is "alive and active" (Hebrews 4:12) and "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word in our hearts also gets into our heads, affecting our thoughts, words, and actions.

As a young naval officer, I had to memorize procedures for navigating our ship, firing its guns, and dealing with emergencies. By knowing procedures by heart, I didn't need written instructions in urgent situations. Scripture serves a similar purpose. I know I am to love God, my neighbor, my wife and family, and even my enemies. When I'm tempted to be unloving, the Spirit often brings to mind a fitting word of Scripture to resist the wrong.

The Word in my heart reveals that Christ in me is my "hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). The Spirit who inspired the writing of the Word uses Scriptures I've learned to make me more like Christ.

Practice the spiritual discipline of memorizing Scripture so that you can live in the light of God's Word.

Father, give me the discipline to get your Word into my head, heart, and soul so that by its light I can live. In your name, O Lord, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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