From even before I joined the staff in 2001, Scripture memory has been a part of Frontier Camp’s program. This past summer at Teen Camp, we challenged the teens to memorize 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. If any of your teens earned a memory verse pin, now is a good time to quiz them.
I have never felt easy about asking the campers to do something I am not willing to do, or even won’t make time to do. In memorizing this passage, I decided I wanted to do the whole chapter. It sure is a good one!
It first talks about our bodies on earth being temporary ‘tents’, and having a desire to leave this tent behind and be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in heaven. But, we must wait on the Lord’s timing for this. Then we come to verse 9:
“Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home [in the body] or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”
How do we do that? What is most pleasing to God? I like to look at the people in Scripture when faced with these questions. I like to see examples – the very examples that God Himself recorded through the hands of men, examples for us.
I think David is the good example in this case. Other than Jesus, David has the most ink dedicated to him or about him. After all, he is a “man after God’s own heart.”
Psalm 19 – the Camp Psalm, we like to call it – is all about both God’s creation and God’s word. (this is also a good set of verses to memorize). Towards the end, David writes that the word of God is more valuable than anything because it keeps us from sin. This is a big clue to being pleasing to God!
In seeking God’s forgiveness after a major battle with sin, David writes in Psalm 51:10
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me!”
A pure heart is a pleasing heart. Sin dirties the heart.
So, back to being pleasing to the Lord. How do we get and maintain a pleasing heart, practically speaking? I’m glad you asked!
Psalm 119:9-11 (more great memory verses!)
“How can a young man keep his way PURE? By keeping it according to your word. With all my heart, I have sought you. Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured IN MY HEART, that I might not sin against You.”
It is simple. To keep a pure, pleasing heart, we need to hide God’s word in there! The NET Bible renders this to “store up Your words.” Wow. How does that help?
God tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (again, a good verse to memorize) that He will provide a way to escape the temptation to sin. That escape comes through trusting God’s word. He has already provided it. WE MUST DO OUR PART! He provides a way. He does not just pull you out. He wants to see if you value Him by trusting His word.
Satan got Adam and Eve to doubt God’s word in Genesis 3 – that’s where sin comes from. But, James 4:7 (yes, you got it, another verse to memorize) says,
“ Submit, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Submit to what, though? We need to know what God says. We need to put God’s word in our heart BEFORE the temptation comes, so that when it does, we know how to respond. When we are tempted to dwell on impure thoughts, but we’ve memorized 2 Corinthians 10:5, the Holy Spirit brings it to mind so we can fight back. When parents are super frustrated with their children (those rare times), and we have Colossians 3:21, we know we need to be careful.
The Lord impressed on me to be intentional about Scripture memory awhile back. He let me see that I had more pointless lines to silly Jim Carrey movies memorized than Bible verses. Which one of these will last forever? Well, fortunately I’ve memorized Isaiah 40:8.
So, my charge to us all is to MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. I’ve used many different methods. I like to memorize passages, as they flow more and it keeps verses in context. I used to hand write passages. But lately, I’ve been using an app. I’ve used a few different ones, but the one I’m using now is: https://scripturetyper.com/ – and I HIGHLY recommend it. Works on any device – Apple or Android, iPad or Kindle, Mac or PC. It is worth whatever they charge in the app stores.
Whatever method you use to learn – straight repetition, audible, written, verbal – find what works for you and hide God’s word in your heart.
Let us get into His word so that His word can get into us – and can give us a pure, pleasing heart.
I’d love to hear what you are working on memorizing, any methods you’ve found that work well, and other stories about Bible memory. Let me know how you’re doing, and I’ll be praying for you.
Matt Henderson, Teen Camp Director