Tonight is the championship game of the NCAA men’s basketball season. Tomorrow night, the women will play for their title. The month of March is called March Madness (MM), because the journey to end the regular season, get selected for the tournament, and actually play the games that determine the champion all take place in March.
A couple of years ago at M.I.T., while some students and I sat at an information table giving away Christian literature and Bibles, we had a March Madness of our own. During a lull in the action (i.e., not many students stopping by), we created a tournament bracket of 64 and brainstormed a candy bar for each entry. We then went through a played each candy bar against one another. Three Musketeers v.s. Snickers; Twix bar v.s. Zagnut; You get the idea.
In one tournament, my favorite – M&M’s – won! Remember their tag line? They melt in your mouth, not in your hands.
I happened to be reading through the Psalms at the time and got a little inspiration after that tournament of candies. You may recognize some key Bible verses from the Psalms like 1:1-2 – “Blessed is the man…whose delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.” Or 119:11 – “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” All of a sudden I had a new use and application for M&M. Meditation and Memorization.
Read Joshua 1:1-9.
God told Joshua to meditate on His Word. Some of us may have hundreds (or thousands) of M&M’s in our bodies, but how many verses and passages of Scripture have you ingested, or invested, in your spiritual diet? You may have untold calories in your physical system from candy M&M’s, but if you do not meditate on the truth of God’s Word, memorize them for quick retrieval, and apply them to your thoughts and actions – you are in poor shape.
Meditating on God’s Word is critical to your spiritual health. God said to Joshua, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (1:8).
Meditating without the second “M” will leave you a bit under-nourished. Scripture memorization should also be a priority as you strive to grow in Christ. Psalm 119 is a devotional on the Word of God. Devotion to God’s Word marks the servant of the Lord because he or she recognizes it as the word of life. Verse 9 captures the intent of the author – “how can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” Connect it now to Psalm 119:11 listed above.
Why does God emphasize meditating on the Bible? What verses have you memorized over the past month? How often do you meditate on those passages? Can you see M&M as a mandate?
Grow devotionally. Consider the five fingers of your hand as an illustration of how we should handle the Scriptures: hearing, reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing. Take time to “mull over” (or chew on) the words you read, to feel the weight of various words and phrases, as you meditate on Scripture. Then start a regimen of memorizing some of them – one or two a week at the beginning. Let the new M&M transform your mind as you continue to love God.
Love is a verb,