I introduced a memory verse in worship today. For some, memorizing scripture is a new practice while others will think of a past with flashcards, "sword drills", and performance anxiety. Most of us will consider this a test of our ability to memorize, but it is so much more. Memorizing scripture is more than memory work. It is also vision work, heart work and can shape the work of our lives. Let me explain.
We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life. Ephesians 2:10*
If all we do is make this a work of our memory, we will have done the work of Memory: the words will be coded into the synapses of our brain and when given the right prompts, the words will return. All well and good, but now alter the verse a bit so it is personalized:
I am God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up my way of life.
Try saying this in front of a mirror. Say it enough times to get past the usual self-deprecating responses and until the weight of these words begin to sink in. Repeat them until they begin to change the way you see yourself. This is the work of vision.
Now, try extending this verse to others. As you encounter the people in your life, see if you can apply these words to the people you encounter:
You are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up your way of life.
As you are able to recall these words, find ways to convey this message to them. When you change the way you see the person next to you and begin to treat them as God's 'work of art,' you are doing the work of the heart.
As you make this a practice, it begins to shape the work of your life- and it should. After all, you ARE God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works God has already designated to make up your way of life!
*This translation is from the New Jerusalem Bible, and we created some small cards with this verse on it that you can pick up the next time you are there. Of course, you may choose to memorize in a different translation. It is a powerful verse no matter which one you choose!