OBEYING WITH UNDERSTANDING
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Psalm 119:34
“Why do you do what you do?” A legalist answers, “Because God said so.” He struggles with an explanation beyond that because there is little or no relationship with his Father. Without relationship, there is no revelation and no understanding. God wasn’t disconnected and dispassionate, deciding to give his children a handbook (the scriptures) full of rules, ordering them to keep them as best we could. Head obedience is a bankrupt way to live. It does nothing positive for the heart but, instead, leads it to a root of bitterness.
God promises understanding and wisdom for me if I’m His child. He personalizes each of His precepts and unveils their beauty and meaning as I walk in them. It is His love for me that makes me hunger for them. It’s as if every time I read a command, I take it to my Father in prayer and sense Him teaching me about it. “This is why this is important, Christine. If you do this, blessing will result because __________. Be careful! Your own heart will want to do the opposite and if you go that way, here’s what will happen. This commandment exists because I love you and want to protect you.”
With each precept comes the promise of understanding. That comes through other scriptures which shed light on it, through the experience of obedience, and mostly, through the counseling work of the Holy Spirit in prayer. Once understood and embraced as mine, God helps me keep them. “Keep” means to watch over and preserve something of value. How will I desire to preserve something if it is just a burdensome duty? I will feel no attachment to the ways of Jesus.
David knows that understanding (in the context of a loving relationship) leads to preserving the law when it’s belittled, passing down the law as a treasure to his children, and observing it with his life with his whole heart engaged.
I want that kind of understanding for the many kingdom choices that will intersect my life today. As I obey when it seems difficult and inconvenient, I bend my spirit toward Christ to know the supreme value of making choices that He would make. I want my heart engaged. Marking time with a disconnected heart is not an option so I echo David’s prayer. I long to walk with my hand in God’s; fully alive intellectually, fully alive emotionally, and fully discerning spiritually.
I guard your ways with my life. I live your ways with all my heart today. Amen