Photo by Eduardo Braga: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-opened-book-1296720/
The Pursuit of Wisdom
There’s a story about a wealthy Roman citizen who wanted to be seen by the noblemen as wise and knowledgeable. The problem was that he was lazy and knew he didn’t want to actually take the time to learn all the philosophy and wisdom of the day. So instead, he had a number of his slaves memorize the most notable sayings and quotes of the day from the likes of Homer, Aristotle, Socrates, and Herodotus. He would then bring these slaves along with him to various dinner parties. When the moment arose when he could say something profound, he would turn to a slave and ask for a quote, which he would promptly repeat for the guests, “You know, as Homer said…”
When I first heard this story I couldn’t believe the absurdity of it. Would someone really think that either a) they are really fooling others into thinking they are smart, or b) personally believe that they have actually gained useful knowledge that way? The goal of learning is not just to have novel information at our fingertips, but to really ingest it, to have it take root in our hearts, and ultimately, to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
The Transforming Power of Scripture Memory
This is the reason why we memorize a verse of the Bible each month. Yes, we can often search our phones or computers to find the verse that we know is out there somewhere, but if we only rely on that, we are no better than our slave-wielding Roman aristocrat. Instead, we’re seeking to go beyond mere recall and appearances. We want God’s word hidden deep in our hearts where it can take root and transform our lives.
In July we memorized a powerful verse on God’s faithfulness (I Corinthians 1:8-9). This month we’re focusing on Philippians 4:8 (watch the song video here): “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Wow what a verse! What powerful things to fill our minds and hearts with: truth, honor, justice, purity, love, excellence, and praiseworthiness. These are all things I long to fill my mind with rather than the cultural shrapnel I sometimes allow to settle in my brain.
My prayer is that Valley View would be a place where we are fighting to fill our minds with all that is listed in Philippians 4:8. This church has been all about God’s Word for 85 years now. That’s why we have a cross and a Bible on the front of the sanctuary! Let’s all strive to memorize Philippians 4:8 this month, and let’s watch God work in our community as He transforms our hearts and minds through his Word.