Tattoos. Many of my friends and family members have tattoos.
Why do people get tattoos? I personally don’t because … well … I don’t like pain. In fact, I try to avoid pain as much as possible so the idea of paying an artist to stab me repeatedly with a needle doesn’t appeal to me.
But I get it. People want to be identified in a particular way. They want what they’ve seared into their skin to be a reminder to themselves or a statement to others of something they find important.
I may not subject myself to physical tattooing, but I daily tattoo my mind with the Word of God.
I learned to memorize Bible verses in 1995 from my mother-in-law. I had previously memorized individual verses but had trouble recalling the references once I had memorized about ten. My brain felt overloaded already. Jane taught me to memorize chapters of Scripture, based on whatever God was teaching me at the time.
I started with Philippians 4. I needed to know what to think about (“whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable”), how to handle worry (“present your requests to God”), and how in the world to handle life (“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”).
When I needed more faith, I memorized Hebrews 11 and the first part of 12. How encouraging to remember the faith journey of so many characters in the Bible when I was struggling in my own faith journey.
When I needed to be reminded of my position in Christ no matter the circumstances, I tattooed Ephesians 1 and Romans 5 on my mind.
I memorized one verse per week, putting it in context with the rest of the chapter as I learned it. Scripture flows, especially the letters of the New Testament. Practicing aloud was like reciting a one-sided conversation.
Just as physical tattoos fade over time, so mental tattoos fade if they aren’t reviewed. I take time each week to review previously memorized Scripture.
This may seem like too much work to you. Consider all of the things we memorize without even meaning to:
Phone numbers (maybe not now that we all have smart phones that remember them for us)
Songs (especially annoying jingles)
Game scores (either from our favorite pro teams or our kids’ teams)
Recipes (in my case, it’s which restaurant to call to order certain dishes)
What famous actors or musicians have said (those who entertain us can have way too much influence over our lives)
You get the idea.
We may think memorizing chapters of Scripture is way too hard, but it’s only one verse at a time. A verse repeated ten times in a row each day can be tattooed on your mind in the space of a week. This comes down to five to ten minutes per day.
I may not want to suffer through what I imagine to be agony for the sake of a physical tattoo, but I will set aside five minutes of my day to tattoo more of the Word of God on my mind. Want to join me?