Psalm 119:34 sits above my classroom behavior chart.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.

This morning’s devotional conversation was based on this verse and Proverbs 3:5-6. When we disobey, sometimes it’s on accident, and sometimes it’s because we like our way better. We just outright do whatever we want to do.

“When I tell you there’s 3 different papers for homework tonight, you’re all upset, and you don’t want to do it.” They all groaned at the news. “But then when I explain that it’s because there’s NO homework on Thursday, you’re happy and excited.” And they cheered.

Suddenly, they were ok with my instructions, with the assignments I’d given them. I pointed out to them that the situation didn’t change. However they had a new perspective based on information. New understanding changed the way they responded.

The situation didn’t change. Their attitude did.

As we learn in Proverbs 3:5-6, we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding of things. We so often think we know what’s best, or at least, we like our way best. Sometimes my way is God’s way, but often times it is not. And rather than obeying, I do what I want to do. Often sin because I don’t really have a deep understanding (wisdom!).  I just hear the situation and think, NOPE.  I know His way is best. I truly believe He wants what is good for me. So if that’s true, why do I still choose to go against His plan, his laws, his good guidance?

a lack of understanding.

On the surface I know these things to be true, but on a daily level, I don’t always meditate on who God is, how great He is, what his sacrifice on the cross really cost, how tiny I am, and how holy He is. If I’m standing before an almighty God, there’s pretty much zero chance I’m going to tell Him “No” to his face. Right? Because the utter awe and presence of God would put me in a respectful fear that would lead to obedience.

Understanding leads us to obedience because understanding of who God is changes our hearts and minds.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.


Lord, give my students understanding because it is YOU who changes them.

Lord, give ME understanding because it is YOU who changes me.

Only you.