First Impression is the Last Impression?

First Impression is the Last Impression?

“And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

I still remember the first time I met young people passionate about memorizing God's Word. I was around fifteen years old and had just joined a new sport that, to my surprise, centered on Bible memory. The company's director had developed an optional program to memorize dozens of verses throughout the year. On top of that, my coach had already committed several books of the Bible to memory. I soon found out that nearly every peer of mine was participating in this optional program, and oddly enough, they enjoyed it. I spent a few months observing from the sidelines before finding myself going home with a list of verses in hand. Then the question arose: How do I memorize a Bible verse?

I started with the smaller verses, repeating them over and over in my head, but I wasn't impressed. Why were my new friends so passionate about memorizing the Bible? I saw it as a monotonous task on my to-do list that took up my extra time. After all, wasn't occasional reading and weekly studying of Scripture sufficient? Nevertheless, I continued, silently hoping that the more I memorized, the more I would fit in with my peers.

That was my first impression of Scripture memory—something you do to gain popularity and maybe even a medal at the end of the season. Even though my Scripture memory journey began with incorrect motives, the Lord used His Word to accomplish His will in my life.

Over time, I began asking questions like, "What do others see in Scripture memory that makes them want to continue even after this program is complete?" And "Why are they so strong in their faith? Is it connected to their memorization of Scripture?" Deep down, I wasn't content with popularity. I wanted answers to my questions so I could discover the spiritual treasures that they had.

As I advanced in the memorization program, I began to delight in meditating on the words of God. They became my comfort in affliction (Psa. 119:50), my light in uncertainty (Psa. 119:105), my companion in loneliness, and my joy in trials. Eventually, I learned that I could be content in any circumstance (Phil. 4:11), saying, "I know I have Scripture, and Scripture won't change."

The same spiritual discipline that I once viewed as extreme and nonessential in my younger years was the very one that paved the way to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

First impressions often are that way. They’re ideas we develop upon encountering a person or thing for the first time. Sometimes those impressions stay, and other times we find ourselves laughing at how they’ve changed over time. Our first encounters with a stranger can turn into memories with a trusted friend through time, patience, and dedication.

What was your first impression of Scripture memory? Have you seen that impression change over time? Share with us by leaving a reply in the comments below.

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