November 11, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines XXXII: Memorize-Internalize-Materialize-Actualize

Steps In A Ladder To Heaven

To memorize is to internalize. To internalize is to materialize to some extent in some form. To materialize is to actualize. To actualize is to live what you memorized. What we are, what we become is what we believe. What we believe we pass on to our children inadvertently or intentionally because what we believe/think-we do. What we do serves as an example to reinforce an education through our behavior. Our children learn more from what we do than what we say. We communicate more through non-verbal communication than verbal communication. The first things most people notice about us as Christians is often the incongruity between what we say, which is Jesus Christ as our example and what we do which often falls way short of what we speak of—Jesus. That is why the hypocrite moniker is so pervasive in Christian or religious labeling.

Based on the above statement it is clear why we are to obey the commands of the Bible. To obey is an actualization of what we have accepted as true and internalized it. If we have internalized what God has taught us in the Bible…we also become more holy through actualizing it. If we do it we will be blessed by God. Perhaps not in this life but we will be blessed. I could continue with this logic syllogism but you get the point. Deuteronomy is clear on this also…

“These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts (internalized) Impress them on your children (actualized). Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (actualized). Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads (actualized). Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (actualized). Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (The Shema)

Benefits of Memorization-Internalization

The benefits of memorization are enormous, nearly beyond true comprehension. If we spend the time to internalize the Scriptures we become the Scriptures. And what does Scripture tell us about Scripture? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. If we have internalized the Word then we become in part, like Christ. We are obviously not like Christ in a divine way but we become more like Him. Obviously, we cannot perfectly internalize and embody Scripture like Jesus did but we are called to try. It is in this trying that we suffer and toil. It is in this process that we are refined. In memorizing and internalizing we are remaining obedient to our call as Christians, disciples and followers of the One who saved us. The One in whom we are shaped after. In His image…created in His likeness, by His word. The Word which is He.

Accumulative Effects of Memorization

My ability to memorize has not always been as good as it is now. I believe since conversion I have been given a gift of a partial photographic or at least mimeographic memory. The gift of memorization is accumulative. The more you do the better you get at it. The images I see in my head are not always perfect but they are often easy to see in three dimensions and in color so to speak. I can look up into the sky or a blank space and envision and see things completed as I or the Lord wants them to be. It wasn’t always like this. It only started to this level after conversion or justification in Christ. It as if I can see the image in mind’s eye suspended in front of me. It is why I was able to so quickly adapt to any CAD package in engineering that was in front of me. It is also why I can see “systems” and pull them apart in my head which leads to being able to find faults in processes quickly. I will often stand back and allow the pictures to form and I can see the things before they exist sometimes. I don’t know for sure how unique this ability is but I have lived and worked in these types of atmospheres and environs off and on for two decades. I believe my oldest son may have this ability also. The same thing happens when I “see” words in my head. My mind immediately converts words to images and I can assemble them in just about any order. I also can take no credit for this. I see the tenuous associations people miss. I suppose this sounds pretty whacked to some reading this but I pray people now understand better how I think and see now. These think/sees are inseparable in my mind. I enter an environment the words create. Does this make any sense of do I just sound insane? The more I can fill out the environment in my mind/head with details like a novelist creates a setting, the more accurate my outcomes.

The Solitary Confinement Test

I know you've heard the saying about the Bible: Shallow enough for a child to stand in but deep enough for an elephant to wade in. The Bible seems to be built in layers as any person that reads it or does interpretation can tell you. The longer you study it the deeper into the layers you go. There is the entire Bible concept, testament or dispensational concepts, book concepts, chapter, exegetical unit, verse, word, word nuance/grammar, cultural, historical, theological, etc., etc. I believe I now have firm enough and deep enough a grasp to keep myself fairly well occupied in solitary confinement without going stark-raving-mad. When someone reaches a certain depth and breadth in Bible knowledge the puzzles, paradoxes and the hodge-podge nature of the Bible comes into sharper contrast and things that once looked ridiculously complex then seems to gel and begin to crystallize into a coherent picture. No one can ever fully wring everything from the Bible but different levels of cognizant attainment are possible. What I can say is they are accumulative and the progressively build on one another working symbiotically to increase one’s knowledge of not only the Bible but God also. I can now “see” Jesus in every verse. If a Christian cannot do this, they are not reading / absorbing / internalizing Scripture correctly.

What I Cannot & Do Not Memorize

Sport statistics, line-ups, world records, recipes, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, directions, who won on some goof reality show and assorted ever-changing mindless data and drivel (names on the other hand I try to retain :). Compared to the Bible, the study of and memorization of this type of data and information is secondary. In some cases it is actually superfluous, pointless and sometimes a wasteful use of mental faculties that appear to become shorter in supply as one ages. I often forget it...on purpose. Forgetfulness in these areas is because I just do not care about these types of data or statistics. I have no emotional attachment to it. It is passé and ultimately…boring and mundane. This I believe is the other truth about the things I can readily memorize, internalize and absorb from the Bible. I remember it and store this stuff in the harddrive because I actually care about it. I engage it…and it engages me. It becomes symbiotic and systemtic for me. I become it and it becomes me. Just like the food I eat becomes me, so too the words I intake become part of me also. It creates an inseparable entity. I am like the mitochondria inside a cell called the church and the Church and I cannot live without the Bible, which in reality is God's mind revealed to us for our benefit.

Speaking of memory If anyone really wants to continue this line of thought, to some extent I have written on this about five months ago in a post called: Symbiosis 

Art: DNA by san_neechan

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