Without Distraction

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Most of us live incredibly fast-paced lives. From the moment our morning alarm goes off, we begin the task of accomplishing as much as we can in the shortest time possible. Even with the help of modern conveniences like smartphones, interstates and fast-food restaurants, we often find ourselves rushing through every aspect of the day only to lie down at night and realize that tomorrow's to-do list is just as daunting. Of course I don't think it would be appropriate to condemn productivity, but there are some things you simply cannot hurry through, and Scripture memorization is near the very top of the list.

According to Solomon in today's Scripture, there is an appropriate time for "every purpose under heaven." You may be able to multitask effectively when talking on the phone or cooking a meal, but the "purpose" of memorizing Scripture requires our exclusive attention.That's not to say reviewing a memory verse in the middle of a hectic afternoon is useless, but a portion of our memory work should always take place apart from distractions like television and radio. In fact, recent studies have shown that students who attempt to multitask while studying are generally outperformed by those who focus solely on the curriculum. One study which was featured in the Research in Higher Education Journal even highlighted the direct impact multitasking has on our ability to memorize:

“…although a distraction does not decrease the overall learning level, it could result in the acquisition of knowledge that can be applied less flexibly in new situations. Thus, when dual task conditions are present, there is modulation in the two competing memory systems of the brain. The dual task condition is considered a distraction that reduces the ability to retain knowledge effectively.”
In other words, distractions will not necessarily keep us from being able to memorizing at all, but they will almost always result in inefficient and less effective memorization. Learning a new passage of Scripture will take twice as long when you're constantly being interrupted, and even then you're likely to find it much more difficult to recall than verses you learned in the silence of a private Bible study. Successful Scripture memorization calls for us to be intentional about setting aside special time to spend in God's Word, and to avoid the temptation to rush through every verse just so we can move on to the next item on that day's agenda.

We will reap what we sow in every area of our lives, and, as Paul wrote, "he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly." (2 Cor. 9:6) Those who regularly invest time hiding God's Word in their hearts without distraction, on the other hand, can expect to reap a plentiful harvest of encouragement, spiritual prosperity, and "good success" (Josh 1:8).

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