This morning I was working with my first grader on his math assignment. I looked at the problem and said, “What’s six plus six?”
Within a matter of seconds, he spewed out, “Twelve.”
I read the next problem, and just as quickly he answered it. Suddenly his eyes widened, and he said, “Hey- I know this! Mom, how do I know this?”
“You’ve been practicing. Remember all those games I made you play that you didn’t want to play.”
“Ohhh!” He grabbed his workbook and went back to the table to finish his assignment.
The situation had me laughing, because just a couple weeks ago he didn’t want to play all those games I opened up on the internet. He didn’t feel like he needed to practice his facts. He was perfectly content with counting on his fingers. And now he knows those facts a little better, he can recall the information a little bit faster. Now math assignments are a little bit easier.
Maybe next time I open those games up for practice, he will happily practice- knowing that they are helping him grow… maybe… but my son is stubborn just like his momma. He will probably forget, drag his feet, and reluctantly play the games I am “forcing him to play.”
This is very much like spiritual discipline. Praying, mediating, reading scripture, fellowship, fasting, stewardship, all these things sometimes feel like things I HAVE to do. But through obedience, practice, and time I grow to appreciate these disciplines and see the results because God meets me there.
For example, when I first became a Christian, I didn’t have a problem consulting Google for Bible verses. But after spending time in prayer, reading my Bible, and even memorizing verses- I have seen these verses come to me in unexpected ways.
Sometimes this happens to me at Church. Someone I am sitting next to may ask for prayer. As I start to pray over this person and I open my mouth outcome the words of scripture that I had locked away in my heart. Timely words. Placed into practice. Prayers I offered up, but were 100% inspired by the Holy Spirit prompting me to say what I had been studying.
Other times those words I have been studying come to me as conviction. One time I was having an argument with my husband. I grabbed my blankets and decided to sleep on the couch. As I went out to the couch I started praying, “God, please convict my husband of what a jerk he is being. He did this, that, and this…”
As I sat there listing my wrongs, I felt this stir in my heart, “Love keeps no record of right and wrong.” Convicted!
Had I not spent time studying, meditating, and memorizing scripture, I am not sure that the Holy Spirit could have worked in me the same way.
Much like my son was shocked that he suddenly knew his addition facts, I tend me be shocked that the words I have been studying come to me when needed.
Don’t be content counting on your fingers. Learn your facts.
Don’t be content looking up verses online. Read them. Memorize them. Mediate on the word. Lock those words away in your heart.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”
2 Timothy 3:16