Joshua 10:25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”
I have to smile, reading this, because this is what the Lord told Joshua repeatedly, most famously in Joshua 1:9. The point is, it had become part of him; he wasn’t just quoting, he was speaking from his heart. This is what God wants to happen with His Word for each one of His children. There is no question that Joshua had internalized this message; the question is whether we have internalized what the Lord has told us. I keep coming back to James 1:22, and actually, Psalm 119:11. There is a world of difference between simply hearing and agreeing with something and actually internalizing it. Even memorization by itself isn’t internalization, though it doesn’t conflict. When something becomes part of us, we act on it automatically; we don’t have to stop and consider each time a relevant issue comes up. We often don’t realize what really has become part of us, because it has gone deeper than the level of normal thinking. I really think this is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7) This is worlds away from picking out a promise and claiming it! We aren’t to despair when we realize that we haven’t really internalized a particular truth, but we aren’t to be satisfied with that state of affairs, either. Rather, we are to repent of our failures and keep pressing in for more of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to write His Word on our hearts in truth, to be part of who we are regardless of our circumstances.
I grew up with a lot of knowledge of the Bible, which is why I am so aware of the difference between that and really making the Word part of you. I am reminded of something my maternal grandfather sometimes asked his seminary students: “How big is your Bible?” When asked, they would generally say something like, “Why Dr. Carver, it’s the same size as yours!” He would then come back with, “I’m not talking about printed matter, I’m talking about how much is in your heart.” I am grateful to say that by God’s grace I have internalized more and more of His Word, but I’ve still got plenty of room to grow. I’m reminded of an interview I saw just yesterday, talking with some of Billy Graham’s grandchildren. They said that at 95 he still posts Scripture on the walls of his home so that he may learn it better. (They said it’s in a very big font size, now!) I do want to be an expression of the Word of God, living it out in faithfulness for His glory.
Father, thank You for the amazing heritage You have given me, and for Your even more incredible patience in dealing with me. Help me be an unclogged conduit of Your Word, Your grace toward all I deal with. Thank You for everything You allow me to experience to clean out more of the “plaque.” May people be drawn to You because of what they see of Christ in me, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!