Perhaps one of the most active occupations a person could go into is law enforcement. Their mission to protect, serve, and up hold the law requires them to be well trained in the use of their resources and be knowledgeable of the law. Their training and knowledge equips them to be ready to spring into action whenever and wherever conflict may arise. Or to put it another way, their mission is to maintain and promote peace according to the law of society.
Like the occupation of law enforcement, the Christian life is meant to be a life of action. The passage of Scripture that I believe captures this biblical truth is Jesus’ great commission to His disciples as He was leaving earth (Matthew 28:18-20). His words to them were actions they were to perform for His name sake, including spreading the gospel and teaching how to obey His Word. And though He was talking directly to His disciples, His words apply to everyone who calls Jesus Christ Lord.
When we are living with the purpose of spreading the gospel and helping others obey God’s Word, we are directly confronting sin in our lives and the sin that surrounds us with the truth, while at the same time creating peace. Doing these things makes us what Jesus calls in Matthew 5:9 “peacemakers.” (For more information on peacemakers, I suggest you read this post: Beatitudes Part 7: Blessed Are the Peacekeepers.)
Peacemakers that promote and maintain the biblical definition of peace must, like law enforcement, train themselves to use their principle resource for confronting sin, the Bible. The best way to go about one’s training is through Scripture memorization. When we memorize Scripture, we are not preparing to use words with no power. Instead, we are preparing to use what Hebrews 4:12 characterizes as a sword; one of the most recognized objects designed for action.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
When we memorize the Scriptures, we are able to use them in ways that benefit not only our lives but also the lives of others as well. In fact, in his second letter to Timothy, Paul provides us with four ways the Scriptures can be used to do just that.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
If someone were to touch a hot object without knowing that it was hot, would it still burn them? It absolutely would. This is because lacking knowledge of the danger of fire will never protect you. The same goes for sin. Lacking knowledge of the consequences of sin will never protect you from them.
This is why memorizing Scripture is so important when it comes to teaching. When we memorize the Scriptures, we are taught by the Word about the dangers of sin and how to deal with it before we suffer the consequences of it. We are also taught about how to properly live the Christian life. Once we learn these lessons for ourselves, we are able to teach others about them too. By teaching others about God’s Word, we help them avoid the sin in their lives and live free from the consequences it brings.
This word “rebuking” means to test or prove something. Scripture memorization allows us to immediately put to test and prove for ourselves what is right and what is wrong in our lives. It also tests all things spiritual, mental, and physical. This is because the Scripture we memorize is from God, who isn’t limited by anything and who is the ultimate authority of truth.
If we are going to properly bring about the peace of the Bible, we must also use the Scripture we memorize to test the things around us, both people and our environment. Not using the Scriptures to lovingly reveal what is wrong in the lives of others and our environment is like letting an unsuspecting person drink slow acting poison. We know it will harm them, but we allow it anyway.
Pointing out the sin in people’s lives can often cause uncomfortable conflict. However, two things must always be remembered when rebuking. It must be done in love (Ephesians 4:14-15), and we must do our best to match our rebuke with loving correction.
The term “correcting” means to restore something back into a right state or to improve its condition. Probably the best example of this is the function of braces for one’s teeth. From what I have heard, braces are uncomfortable, awkward, and painful. Also, the crookedness of one’s teeth will determine how long the braces must stay on in order to bring the teeth back into a right state.
The same concept applies when we use the Scripture we memorize and apply it to the correction of the sin in our lives and the lives we help correct. The process is uncomfortable, awkward, and often brings about pain in our lives, and the extent of how rooted the sin is will determine how long we will undergo the correction of Scripture.
However, just as braces do not stay on forever, there will also come a time when our correction will end because we have been brought back in line with God’s standard of righteousness.
In this text, “training” is used to mean the training or nurturing of a child. One of the most important things that a parent can cultivate in their child is discipline. As a child is trained to be disciplined, the child will start to exercise obedience without the need of correction by means of punishment. By the time the child is an adult, his or her discipline will be of great value to them.
As we grow spiritually, memorizing Scripture will help us to become disciplined Christians that live our lives in ways pleasing to God. This discipline will enhance our ability to fulfill our call to be active Christian’s for the sake of Christ. It will also aid us while we minister the gospel and confront the sin that is both in our lives and in others.
Being an active Christian is no small task. And reliance upon your knowledge of the Scriptures to take action can make that task even more demanding. However, I encourage you to start memorizing Scripture today. Like most things in life, memorizing Scripture and applying it to your actions will take time. But even though it may seem like you cannot do it and you feel like giving up, pray to God for the strength to persevere. Because of His great love for us and His desire for us to have a greater relationship with us, He will give you the strength to do it.
So as you rely on His power, start today by taking it one verse at a time.
Your brother in Christ,