There are three classified types of memory in the Human brain; Sensory, Short-term, and Long-term.
Sensory memory operates as the ability to identify something that has affected one of our five senses. For example, I look out the window and see a tree. I can close my eyes and remember what the tree looks like. However, after seeing several trees, the details of the first tree are easily forgotten.
Short-term memory operates as the ability to recall information that may be important for the moment but not needed for daily use. For instance, a phone number that will only be used once can be recalled for a few minutes.
Long-term memory operates as the ability to continually recall facts whenever we need them. In keeping with the theme of a phone, a phone number that is repeatedly dialed throughout our lives, such as the number of a friend or relative, will be stored in our Long-term memory. The act of daily pushing the buttons on the phone keeps this number fresh in our mind.
Many times when we are listening to God’s Word, whether in the pew listening to the preacher, or at home in daily reading, we find ourselves using only our Sensory memory. We hear the sound of the words and recognize them, or we read see the words on the page of the Bible and can connect the letters in such a way to make words, but we quickly forget what we have heard or read.
Other times we find ourselves using our Short-term memory, hearing and thinking about what is being said while seated in the pew, but then when the last ‘Amen’ is spoken, we stop thinking about what has been said as we go on with our daily lives.
Although both our Sensory and Short-term memories are necessary for initially comprehending what we have heard or read in God’s Word, God’s Word should not be confined to these two types of memory. We seek to commit God’s Word to our Long-term memory. We are to be ‘dialing up’ the Gospel daily.
How do we daily ‘dial up’ the Gospel? First, by meditating upon what we have heard or read in the Bible. Think through all the Gospel implications of the sermon or passage we have heard. Second, by applying what we have heard. Identify different ordinary instances in your life where the Gospel demands a change. Third, by using what we have heard. Offer up God’s Word back to Him in worship, in song, or in prayer. Fourth, by sharing what we have heard. Discuss the Gospel with other believers and testify of it with unbelievers. Finally, by memorization. Committing Scripture to memory is very useful in keeping the Gospel ‘dialed up’ constantly before you, provided you have not merely memorized words, but have followed the first step of meditating on the meaning of the verse you have memorized.
The purpose of all this is to live a life that is consistent with the Gospel. And the only way to live a life consistent with the Gospel is to let the Holy Spirit penetrate your life through the Gospel and transform you by the Gospel. But it all begins with how we hear the Gospel at the first.