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The Scriptorium

Mind, Heart, Conscience, and Life

Learning Jesus is a whole-person project. Psalm 119.34

Psalm 119.33-40 (2)

Pray Psalm 119.34.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Sing Psalm 119.34.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Teach me, Lord, and help me follow in Your perfect, righteous way!
From my heart I will observe and all Your holy Law obey.
Give me understanding, Jesus: I will keep Your Law always!

Read Psalm 119.33-40; meditate on verse 34.

1. What did the psalmist want from the Lord?

2. To what would that lead?

How do we know when we have learned the Law of God? Or any of His Word?

This verse suggests some very important aspects of learning. First, God must open our mind; He must give understanding. We do not achieve this on our own, by our own wits. Only God can give understanding of His Law and all His Word. We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16), but we must submit ourselves to Him, hear Him as often and as fully as possible, and seek understanding from Him through contemplation, prayer, and patient waiting.

Second, when the Word engages our heart as well as our mind, that is, when what we are learning becomes so precious to us that we guard it diligently in our heart, then we are making progress in learning. When both our mind and heart agree together in understanding and delighting in God’s Law, it becomes a permanent possession and joins the values harbored in our conscience. Once the Law is thus firmly established in our soul, keeping and observing it will come much more easily and consistently.

We will love and obey the Word and Law of God as our conscience absorbs what our heart embraces and our mind has understood. When we experience this happening in and through us, we can know that we have learned the Law of God, which is to say, we have learned Jesus (Eph. 4.17-24), Who is being formed within us by the glory and Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3.12-18).

We have learned the Law and Word of God when we have learned Jesus and are walking in His way (Matt. 11.28-30; 1 Jn. 2.1-6).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“I will strengthen the house of Judah, and
I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back, because
I have mercy on them.
They shall be as though
I had not cast them aside; for
I AM the LORD their God, and
I will hear them” (Zech. 10.6)

Now that’s a bold claim! And God will do it. Just as He said. Just as He promised.

The psalmist is also making a bold claim.
“I shall keep Your law; [in fact]
I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Ps. 119.34). Wow!

This verse puts me in mind of the bellringers standing out in the freezing cold asking for money to feed the poor. But in our story, they are also promising that every penny that gets dropped in the bucket will go to the needy. Every last cent. All of it.

Can you see the correlation? We are ringing our bells calling out to the Lord, “Give me understanding.
And when You do, I want You to know that every bit of Your effort and gift will go to my keeping Your Law. Every last scintilla of my heart’s longings will belong to You and Your Law. All of it. Every beat. Forever.”

Here is how we can come close to keeping that bold claim. Paul wrote, “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Phil. 2.13-16).

We can boldly claim, but we also must desperately cling to our Savior Who wants, even more than we, to help us succeed: “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13.20, 21).

Give me understanding. And my all – mind, heart, and conscience – will be given to keeping Your Law. For Your glory, Your pleasure, and the good of my Personal Mission Field. Every day. Forever.


For reflection
1. What are you calling on God to give you for this day? What are you claiming from Him?

2. Heart, mind, conscience, life – all true learning involves these together, soul and body. How do you know when you are truly learning Jesus?

3. What can you do to improve your ability to tap into the Spirit’s power for learning Jesus?

God puts a restraint principally on the heart, that genuine uprightness may flourish there, whose fruits may afterwards appear in the life. This spiritual observance of the law is a most convincing evidence of the necessity of being divinely prepared and formed for it. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.34

Pray Psalm 119.38-40.
Ask God to show you how to serve Him today. Devote yourself to Him and to His Word. Seek the reviving work of the Holy Spirit so that you long to please the Lord in everything you do today.

Sing Psalm 119.38-40.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Set me firmly in Your statutes, for Your servant, Lord am I.
Fearing You in sweet devotion, let me live until I die.
Let no dread, let no reproach obscure Your judgments from my eye.

For Your holy precepts, Jesus, my whole heart longs earnestly,
for Your judgments all are good; Your Word is a delight to me!
In Your righteousness revive me! For Your goodness I would see!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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