So much of what we have in the Bible is targeted at encouraging us to grow and endure in faith. Anybody having travelled even a short way along the roadway of faith knows that really living for Christ is not for the faint of heart. Oh, there’s joy to be had on the journey, but it’s often through mountainous territory. So, the writer of Hebrews challenges us with his encouragement, “let us run with endurance the race marked out for us (12:1).” And just like it is with a finely conditioned athlete, building that kind of endurance only comes through a commitment to daily training.
I was fascinated to recently read about the training regimen of Warrior’s basketball all-star Stephen Curry. Though considered by many to be the world’s best all round player, it’s also been widely noted that there is nothing remarkable about his physical stature. At 6’3” and 180 lbs Steph is clearly on the small side for a professional basketball player. But Curry’s work ethic is over the top. Beginning at an early age, Steph’s dad drilled his sons in the fundamentals of ball handling, dribbling, movement on the court, and shooting. And it’s that basic regimen of practicing the fundamentals that Steph still works on today. Coupled with the unselfish mindset of being a team player first and keeping it fun, Steph’s daily preparation has propelled him into very arguably being the best player in the NBA.
I find that kind of commitment to be both inspirational and instructive. If a guy will put in that kind of work for an earthly crown, how much more might we be willing to invest when pursuing a crown that will last for eternity?!
So just what are the fundamentals that we ought to be practicing when it comes to conditioning for our race of faith? Most of us would agree that a vibrant prayer life and time in God’s Word are essential to our preparation. But having noted the importance of these basics, are there ways that we can actually weave them into our lives so that God’s Word and communion with Him are really influencing our thoughts and activities throughout every day?
Here’s my challenge for you then. It’s basic, but for some of you at first hearing it will be daunting. Join me in memorizing and meditating on one chapter of scripture over the course of January through June, 2016. I realize that many of you already have a plan for reading the scriptures daily. Many of you too are already engaged with a group in studying God’s Word. But I’m challenging you to take it a step further and committing to the fundamental of scripture memory and meditation so that the Spirit of God has a ready tool to prod you through His Word at any time throughout the day or night.
The passage I have in mind is Colossians 3. It’s 25 verses of rich reminders for anyone wanting to grow in Christ. (That averages out to just one verse a week.) During the early weeks and months of this year my plan is to repeatedly read through the chapter, eventually committing it to memory as I do. I want it to be a living library in my heart upon which the Spirit of God can draw at any time of His choosing. And, I’m hoping that many of you will join me in this adventure, becoming one of The Colossians 3 Company too. Yes, even some of you who think you “can’t memorize” scripture or perhaps haven’t done so in years. The truth is, given some time, you can do it. In fact, we can do it together and encourage each other along the way. I guarantee it will be well worth your effort.
God has a number of good tools to help us grow stronger in the race of faith marked out for us. Scripture memorization and meditation are a couple of His finest. The Psalmist writes, “Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against you. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word (Ps. 11:11, 15, 16).”
Not all will be able to take part in this venture. Some may be over-committed already. But if you’d like to join with me in this challenge, there’ll be a sign-up in the foyer and cheers of encouragement along the way. Let’s do it together.