Be Intentional

Spring is just around the corner. Time for planting trees and shrubs and flowers. Who am I kidding? I’ve never planted anything in my life—and I’m good with that—no green thumb here. But we’re still going to talk about planting, because spring represents a time of new life and growth and beauty, after a winter season of leafless trees and brown grass.

In Psalm 1, God gives us a metaphor to describe the blessed person:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither,
whatever he does prospers.”

The tree represents a life. The water represents God’s Word. This healthy tree flourishes because it is planted close to the water—its life source. Likewise our souls flourish by our intake of the Scriptures. It is water for thirsty souls.

I remind you that the Psalms were originally written for the nation of Israel, and we are the gleaners of these rich truths. Israel is a semi-desert region with almost no rain from May through October. So how can a tree in Israel have abundant water in such a dry climate? The answer is intentional planting. They didn’t just plant a tree anywhere and hope to find water. They found the water first and then planted the tree. Brilliant!

Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm. And what is the wisdom in this psalm? Plant yourself by the water. Don’t just plan your days and weeks hoping that God’s Word will fit in somewhere—be intentional. Arrange your schedule in such a way that God’s Word is always watering you, always accessible. You are the tree. Without water you will wither and dry up.

This is why we memorize passages of Scripture. It’s an intentional way to keep God’s Word on our hearts and minds throughout the day. Most verses can be recited in less than ten seconds—ten seconds! Most chapters can be recited in two to three minutes. Even with a jam-packed schedule there is always time for a verse, and then the next one, and then the next one. This keeps you flourishing throughout the day. When we’re not intentional the demands of the day swallow us up and deplete our reserves.

This morning I got up and reviewed the psalm I am currently working on—Psalm 96. Then after breakfast I went walking and reviewed it a few more times. Now I’m writing this blog. Shortly I will take a shower and memorize some more while getting ready for the day. After a few hours of desk work it will be lunchtime and I will review again. More desk work. Late afternoon I have a dentist appointment so as I drive I will review other passages including Psalm 96. Then there’s the drive home, cooking dinner, evening tasks, and getting ready for sleep—each can include a few moments in God’s Word. My day will be full—and my soul will be full. Intentional planting!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and any tips on keeping yourself planted by the streams of water.

7 comments to Be Intentional

  • Shan

    Dear Janet, Thank so much for encouraging us by sharing how you fit Scripture memory into your day in such a detailed way. That’s really helpful. We’re attending the Ligonier Annual Bible Conference here in Orlando, listening to great preaching from John MacArthur, Sinclair Ferguson, Albert Mohler and many others. It’s like drinking God’s Word from a fire hose! Look up #ligcon if you have time. Shan

  • Patty

    Thank you Janet for reminding us that there are abundant times within a busy day to spend that time in God’s Word. I appreciate the practical help.

  • Lise

    Janet, Thank you for reminding us that spending time with God is intentional! So much of my day is driven by requests from clients, family, friends, etc. I must intentional make time — even in moments when I am doing other things — to spend time in God’s word. And thanks to memorization, I can do that in all kinds of places and circumstances. Last time I had an MRI, I was laying there with my eyes shut thinking “what a great time to work on memory verses” :^) What a blessing to have Scripture handy at all times — but even then we must intentionally meditate on it rather than on our to do list or worries.

  • Audrey

    Thanks for your encouragement Janet! With the practical help from you I have found that even when my morning “quiet time” alone reading my Bible is interrupted (fairly often since I have two young children) I still can benefit from the source of water because I have his word in my heart – larger portions of it thanks to you!

    • Hi Audrey, I know it works because I began memorizing 25 years ago when I had small children. It’s my joy to pass along what I have benefitted from.

  • Catherine

    Thank you Janet for reminding us on how to position ourselves; keeping God’s Word in our hearts and minds. Busy moms like I with 2 young children need to reminded this over and over, that it is possible to memorize and meditate scriptures.