Devotion for the Week...
I have a new little guy that I'm babysitting this school year and he's having a tough time adjusting to being away from his mom. Thankfully, the past few days have been better, but for awhile the early part of the morning was really rough. The first couple of mornings I tried distracting him by playing videos of Sesame Street song on my laptop. It worked a little, but wasn't great, so we gave it up after a few mornings.
Nathan, though, really enjoyed those little videos while he was eating his breakfast. He even picked a favourite song pretty quickly. It was the Raise Your Hand song, which is all about the importance of raising your hand when you have something to say at school. I have to admit, it was one of my favourites too! After only a couple of mornings listening to it, I'd hear Nathan going around the house in the afternoon singing, "Raise it up, raise it up, raise it up."
Isn't it funny how quickly songs can get stuck in your head? Sometimes it's fun, like when you're able to spend your day 'hearing' your new favourite song even when there's no music around. Other times it's less fun, like when it's a song you really hate, but it's stuck in your head anyway. Kids' songs, because they tend to be especially upbeat and repetitive, can really get stuck in my head quickly.
Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." That's like saying to God, "Your word is stuck in my head, I hear it all the time, so I won't do the wrong thing." The best example of this is Jesus, who resisted temptation from Satan using the words, "It is written," (Matthew 4:4,7,10) followed by verses of Scripture. Jesus knew the Scriptures and could easily bring to mind ones that would help Him with specific temptations.
If you're anything like me, you have snippets of lots of different verses in your head, and you can call them to mind fairly readily. The question is, do we listen to those verses when they run through our minds? When we have a bit of gossip we want to share, do we listen to the little voice in our head that says, "Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down" (Proverbs 26:20)? Or, when we have to do a task we really don't want to do, and we're tempted to do just enough work to get by, do we listen to ourselves thinking, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Colossians 3:23,24)?
Knowing Bible verses is great, but it's not all the useful unless we also act on what we know. Jesus said to Satan, "It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" (Matthew 4:4). That statement was His refusal to turn rocks into bread to prove that He was the Son of God. If Jesus had thought about the Scripture, then turned the rocks into bread anyway, it really wouldn't have helped Him much to know the verse, would it? Likewise, it really doesn't help us when we know a verse, but then go against it anyway.
It's a wonderful practice to memorize Bible verses. Having them stuck in your head, or hidden in your heart, as the psalmist put it, is the first step. But then, in order to live according to God's word, you have to actually use what you know.