One of my favorite illustrations to use when teaching kids is from the original Space Jam movie with Michael Jordan way back in 1996! It always amazes me how many kids have still seen it! In the movie, the tune squad uses “Michael’s Secret Stuff” to defeat the Monstars in their basketball game. The irony is that “Michael’s Secret Stuff” is nothing other than water. The tune squad is tricked into believing that something so ordinary could actually be extraordinary and elevate their basketball playing abilities.
What’s the secret stuff and secret sauce when it comes to the discipleship of your kids? I am convinced that the seemingly ordinary, but in actuality extraordinary thing needed to help point your kids to Jesus and grow them up to love and worship Him is the discipline and habit of scripture memory. Parents, make this the year that the word of Christ is dwelling richly in your homes and in your kids (Colossians 3:16)! Make this the year that your kids learn to cultivate a heart that delights in the law of the Lord day and night (Psalm 1:1-3)! It is so ordinary and often loses prominence over the latest podcast episode or trending social media post. So beware of not capitalizing on this ordinary means of grace in discipling our kids!
Let me give you four areas where Scripture Memory does or would serve your kids well and apply it as the secret sauce that is available to help disciple your kids and point them to Jesus.
1. The Power of Habit
The most formative things in life are the most repeated things in life. If you want your kids to love the Bible and bleed the Bible then just having them hear a couple Bible stories each week won’t do enough. Scripture memory immerses your kids in the Bible like nothing else. One of the reasons we believe that scripture memory is better suited for the home and for parents to lead out in, rather than the church, is because of the amount of time available for moms and dads. Time = Opportunity which leads to habit formation. The success of parenting isn’t what you accomplish now, but what you cultivate for the future. As important as what they’re memorizing now is, it is more about teaching them to memorize that will serve them later on in life.
2. The Authority of God’s Word
Scripture memory is a way to use both planned and unplanned moments of discipleship to remind and reteach your kids that the Bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is breathed by God (2 Timothy 3:16). We want to train our kids so that when life cuts them, they bleed God’s word. One of the ways to do that is by memorizing the Bible so that they see that the Bible applies to all of life all of the time. By memorizing the Bible, you’re able to take the Bible with you into all situations and circumstances and not relegate it to a family devotional in the home. You help your kids see that the Bible has truth, power, and authority over all of life.
One of the best ways to help prepare your kids for and move them towards a profession of faith and a public declaration through baptism is by scripture memory. I’ve argued before how vital Scripture Memory is to this process. Why do you or your kids believe what you claim to believe? Well, because the Bible tells me so of course. But where does the Bible say that and how do you know the Bible says that? Scripture memory takes your kids from blindly trusting and believing what you tell them to be the truth about Jesus and salvation to showing and proving to them what it says. It helps turn theory into reality. One of the best ways for your kids to begin to understand and articulate the gospel story and the entire Biblical narrative is by helping them know verses like John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9, Matthew 28:19-20, Colossians 2:12-13, Ephesians 2:8-9, and Romans 6:1-4. We often say within Providence Kids that we want to disciple kids for conversion and not from conversion and memorizing verses like these is the most fundamental way to disciple via scripture memory for the sake of introducing your kids to Jesus. Let the memorized word be the seed and tool for belief in the gospel and not just growth in the gospel.
4. Obedience and Identity
Scripture memory is a way to help your kids practice obedience and to cultivate a discipline for a heart of repentance. We are sanctified in and by the truth of the Bible (John 17:17). Knowing the Bible when we catch our kids in disobedience and even when we catch ourselves in disobedience is a powerful tool to be able to practice repentance, cling to gospel hope, and reorient our identity around the fact the fact that we have been crucified with Christ and it is now Him who lives in us (Galatians 2:20). Our world and culture are constantly telling us lies about where our home and where our joy ought to lie and that it is only the Bible itself that reveals and declares who we are and whose we are. Notice that it’s not spiritual concepts or ideas about God, but what the Bible itself reveals. In the moments of disbelief we want to train our kids to flood their minds and hearts with actual truth and not hypothetical concepts. So use scripture memory to encourage obedience and to establish identity.