It’s Always Been Within Reach

It’s Always Been Within Reach

"What does this Bible verse mean? Do you think there's a reason you are sitting next to me on the airplane right now? Is God trying to get my attention?" the young Jordanian girl asked me while looking intently into my eyes. Our plane had just begun its descent into Minneapolis. She wanted an answer, and my Bible was underneath the seat in front of me. 

I was twelve years old when I began my desperate search for ways to effectively share the gospel with unbelievers. I picked up as many books as I could on the topic, but they didn't answer me satisfactorily. Searching, I sought respected individuals to answer my many questions: “How do I share my faith with confidence?” "What do I say when I start a conversation with someone?" What I found to my disappointment was that no two answers were alike. What one person applauded, another disapproved of. I needed to fuel my motivation with something more concrete than a subjective answer of “do what works for you” because, at the time, nothing was working. Complacency soon set over my heart, and eventually, I became content with not sharing the gospel at all. Besides, sharing such complex truths was for the trained evangelists, not the average 16-year-old. This was the lie I believed.  

Three years later, I experienced the heart-wrenching loss of a brother in Christ. At his funeral, the one word that stood out to the many who surrounded him during his life on earth was "evangelistic." As his family concluded, the root of his evangelism was one thing — God's Word. He would spend hours memorizing Scripture and then take the truths he learned out on the streets. He led many people to the Lord in his short life.  

It was then that I started asking myself questions. Instead of looking to the newest book release or article that "unlocked the tips for modern evangelism," I forced myself to think back on what has always been. What if evangelism wasn’t as hard as I was making it? What if the most successful approach has always been right at my fingertips? What if the root cause of timid Christians in gospel-sharing could be attributed to the absence of a single tool — God’s Word? 

Insufficient Result?  It's an uncomfortable conclusion to come to - that our evangelism encounters are negatively affected because our understanding of biblical truths is significantly lacking. But is it true? In the words of Alistair Begg, "There are barriers that often hinder us from talking effectively to others about Jesus. It's easy to feel intimidated or undertrained." The hesitations towards evangelism in our culture are often traced back to poor confidence, improper technique, a lack of teaching, and ineffective strategies - all of which can undoubtedly be resolved with Scripture memory (Psa. 119:24, 46, 99).  

Yet, we have no shortage of access to God’s Word. In fact, individuals in our generation across the US have more free access to Bibles than any other generation before us. Not only have we produced the most physical copies of Bibles, but they're a tap away at any given moment through a digital app on our smartphone. As Dakota Lynch says in his book, “Remember the Words,” “We’ve had enough time to see whether Google and Bible apps are viable substitutes for knowing God’s Word personally. Clearly, they are not. We have a wealth of biblical knowledge at our fingertips, and yet most of it stays there, never making it into our minds and hearts.” 

Where Have We Gone Wrong?  Scripture is abundantly clear - we're to do more with God’s Word than read its pages and toss its concepts back and forth in our minds. We're to memorize it. We're to fill our minds with the life-giving words of our God and let His transformative truths penetrate our thoughts. We ought not let ourselves simply be in the Word, but we ought to strive for it to be in us - where no one can remove it. As Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  

The Holy Spirit brings things to our remembrance. This cannot be accomplished unless we first know what God has spoken (John 14:26). It shouldn't surprise us that our evangelistic endeavors will be most successful when God's Word is at the center of them. By storing up Scripture in our hearts (Psa. 119:11), we're preparing for the best possible outcome. 

The Answer  After I answered for myself the aforementioned questions on evangelism, I shared the gospel with confidence for the first time. It wasn’t only because I was reading God’s Word, but it was because I was memorizing it. The truth is, we can't share what we don't know.  

Scripture memorization isn't a new concept. In fact, it's been around for centuries, being practiced in the Old and New Testament alike (Deut. 6:4-9 and Matt. 4:1-10). If Scripture memorization has been present throughout every generation, should we be excluding it from our own? The truth is that unbelievers need God’s words more than ours. Let’s be prepared to share them!  

Because I memorized Scripture, I was equipped to share biblical truths with the girl next to me on the airplane that afternoon. Not because I expected to have an evangelism encounter or practiced what to say beforehand, but because God’s Word proved sufficient to prepare me for what He called me to, and it's sufficient to prepare you, too. 

By the end of our conversation, I could see that the Lord was evidently working in her heart. I didn't have to worry about the Bible being out of my reach. It was in my heart.  

Do you need help figuring out where to start? Check out this helpful resource. Remember the Words answers the why and how of Scripture memory and offers compelling evidence that it deserves to be a priority in the 21st century. By hiding God's Word in your heart, you’ll be able to deepen your faith, grow in your knowledge of Scripture, and strengthen your witness for Christ.

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