If writing on your skin with a Sharpie is bad for you, I may be headed in a bad direction. I have developed a habit of writing Scripture references in black permanent marker on my left hand. It usually washes off within the day, but while it’s there it serves as a constant reminder for me to meditate on a Biblical truth throughout my day.
God tells us that his Word should be written on our hearts, etched into our minds, scratched into our doorposts, and carved into our gates.
Isaiah 44:5 says, “This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s’; another will use the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and take on the name of Israel.” (emphasis mine). That verse has served as my inspiration for writing bible verses on my left hand. Over the last couple of years the references on my left hand have been reminders that the Lord will fight for me if I can just be still (Exodus 14:14). To not be shaken by circumstances (Hebrews 12:27-28), to stand firm in the faith with strength and courage (1 Corinthians 16:13-15), and to not give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:27).
The simple writing of scripture addresses on my left hand helps me to ponder the words of God as I go through my day and on my way. For me there is another very personal level of reminder: As a guy who often smashes his hand every time I work on a car or build something with wood, I have a number of scars on my left hand. Literally writing scripture over my scars reminds me that God is bigger than any of my wounds, and that it is by the stripes of the Messiah that I have been healed (Isaiah 53:5).
You don’t have to write on your hand. You may choose to write your scripture reminders in other prevalent places. My daughter regularly sticks Post-it notes on the dash of her car with bits of Scripture to think about while she drives. My wife writes out Scripture-based prayers for our family in a prayer journal. I know some friends who write verses on their bathroom mirrors in dry-erase marker.
Whatever method you choose to use, I want to challenge you to find ways to continually keep micro-reminders of God’s Word before your eyes.
I find that too often I am too much like the person that James talks about in James 1:23-24. In it, he observes that if we are merely hearers of the Word (and not doers) we’re like a person who looks quickly into the mirror but immediately forgets what he looks like once he walks away.
Most of us have incredibly short attention spans. We live in a world that’s filled with busyness and activity and entertainment and distraction that constantly pulls our focus to new things. We’re the kind of people who get up from watching a TV show, and when we go into the kitchen to find a snack we forget what show we were just watching.
In this cultural context we must, as committed followers of Jesus, be highly intentional about deliberately setting our focus on the right things. Joshua 1:8 gives a direct challenge to concentrate on God’s Word, saying this about God’s book of instruction, “…you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.”
For me that text is convicting. My brain so easily flies from one thing, to the next thing, to the next thing—from a movie quote to a song lyric to a meme to an upcoming deadline to a conversation I had yesterday—that I am seldom able to truly meditate, concentrate, or ruminate on any one thought for more than a few seconds at a time.
But, as His followers, I believe God has called us to be different kinds of thinkers. He calls us to read his Word, not just for the purpose of checking off a box on our to-do list, but for the purpose of saturating our hearts and minds in The Truth; not like the absent-minded mirror-lookers in James’ letter, but as people who allow God’s Word to seep deeply into our hearts, permeating our souls and spirits.
We are to be men and women who are so filled up with Scripture that it seeps and oozes out of us in our speech and attitudes and thoughts and actions. If a cup is filled with coffee and the person holding the cup is jostled, coffee will spill out. Likewise if that cup is filled with milk or juice or diet cola; whatever is inside is what spills out. The same is true for us. When you are shaken by the circumstances of life, whatever is in your heart will spill out; kindness or anger, harshness or gentleness, godliness or selfishness.
Jesus said it this way in Luke 6:45, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.“
As you go about your busy day today, moving through your meeting-filled, task-driven, not-enough-time-to-get-it-all-done week, take active steps to keep God’s Word in front of your eyes at every turn. Choose a verse that speaks to your situation. Pick a passage that points to a truth that you need to dwell on. Then bust out the Expo® and scrawl it on your mirror. Plaster it on sticky notes.
Or, like me, grab your trusty, fine-point, black ink, permanent marker out of the coffee-mug pen holder on your desk and literally write it on your hand.
I truly hope that the things I write on my own hand will seep through my skin and imprint upon my heart. Someday, after I die, my greatest hope would be that they find my heart stained with black ink from a lifetime of writing God’s Word onto my hand.
Chuck Peters is Director of Lifeway Kids. Before his role at Lifeway, Chuck had a prolific career in television and video production. He is a 3-time Emmy Award Winning producer, director, writer and on-screen talent. A graduate of Columbia Bible College, Chuck, and his wife, Cris, have served in Student and Children’s Ministry for many years.