The Deception of Abuse: Scripture Memorization as a Remedy
Ephesians 6:13-18 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; (17) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (18) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…
It has been said that wherever there is evil, there is a lie. This is one primary reason why the abuser is able to continue in his quest for power and control largely unmolested. He surrounds himself with a bubble of lies and deception, thus veiling who and what he really is: evil. Like many of you, I have worked with a number of such people for years, never making any headway at all. I tried dealing with them according to the theory that they had a troubled past, or that they just hadn’t yet found their niche in life, that they were Christians but suffered from some malady (ADHD, etc). But nothing ever resolved anything. Confusion continued to reign. Repentance never happened, and in the end, I left them to themselves. Such people lie and deceive. They sabotage any effort to resolve the chaos they create. I have spent literally, and I do mean literally, years trying to discover what position/role/niche in life a person like this could function in without doing so much damage to others. If you cannot find such a niche, it is because the abuser does not want you to. He will be certain do act in such a way that he maintains control, and the chaos and confusion that emanates from him is one of his favorite tools to do so. This deception takes different forms, but you can always identify it by realizing, after spending a long time trying to understand such a person, that the only thing to be understood is that he does not want anyone to truly know him. If they did, they would have his number and he would be exposed. So he continues to weave the deception.
Have you ever noticed that the familiar Scripture quoted above repeatedly refers us to the Word of God as both defensive and offensive armament in our battle against the evil one? Consider -
- the belt of truth
- the gospel of peace
- the shield of faith (faith has an object, and that object is revealed in the Word of God)
- the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God
I am presently preaching through the book of Joshua and have been impressed and convicted of the importance chapter 1 gives to knowing, doing, and thus memorizing God’s Word. Here is an example:
Joshua 1:7-8 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. (8) 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.
How can you meditate of God’s Word day and night unless it is in your mind? That means memorizing it. And numbers of other Scriptures teach us the very same thing:
Psalms 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (10) With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (11) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Psalms 1:1-2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; (2) but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Yes, these passages speak of valuing God’s Word, of giving ourselves fully to that Word, of submitting ourselves to the Word — but necessarily bound up in all of these things is to have that Word in us, and that means memorizing it. Programming our minds with it.
Many of you are no doubt far more disciplined about Scripture memorization than I have been, but I am seeking of late to correct that deficiency. I even found an iPhone app called Bible Memory Verses by Woody Hays, and it is free. It has 1,000 verses already in it, arranged by topic, and you can add your own selections to it as well very easily from a number of Bible versions.
There is only one remedy for lies and deception — truth. Our battle with sin, with the devil, with the world, and with the lying deceptions and convolutions of the chaos of the abuser is fought in our minds. Like the walls of Jericho, sin and evil construct walls raised up against the knowledge of God and His truth, and those walls are in our minds. They must come tumbling down, and it is the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God that effects that downfall and defeats the enemy.
Scripture memorization is not easy. But its fruit is life-giving. Take any opportunity that you have to immerse yourself in God’s Word daily and begin to hide it in your heart and mind so that you might not sin against the Lord, and that you might stand firm in the evil day when those lying, deceiving missiles are launched at you.
Oh, here is my first memorized Scripture. I’m just getting started:
Joshua 1:7 (ESV) – Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
Pretty good stuff.