Reflection on Psalm 86: 11 Undivided Heart

By Ling-Ling Shih, Copyright © 2009-2012

“There can be no part-time Olympic gymnast.” This sentence has struck a chord with me.  I heard it in a sermon a couple of weeks ago.  To achieve excellence in anything, it requires our “undivided heart.”  But more importantly, this “undivided heart” is how we can walk safely and steadily “on the beam.”

A gymnast on the balance beam will falter if he or she lets her mind wander off.

In our daily lives, how can we confidently walk that precarious walk without faltering?  The answer is clear.

David, the author of the quoted psalm below (Psalm 86:11), has a clear idea where he should place his undivided heart.  He prayed to God earnestly for an undivided heart for Him, so he would keep God at  the center of his life and revere him and obey his teachings for the rest of his life.

David prayed, listened, and obeyed. He had a contrite heart.  He no longer wanted to go his own way but sought an undivided heart for God and an obedient life that would revere His name and uphold his teachings. Do we have the eagerness like King David and humbly ask  God,”Lord, please teach me your way?”

The two words “undivided heart” has a lot to do with the word “listening.”

In Chinese, the word “to listen” (聽) consists of several components; four essential components of this word are ‘耳‘ (ears), “目” (eyes), “一” (one), “心” (heart).

Without  “一心” (literally, “one heart” which connotes  the meaning of  “undivided heart” ), attentive “耳” (ears),and “目“ (right ”gaze“),we  can’t listen and obey.  In Chinese, the word”聽 “/” 听“ also means “to obey.”

This Chinese word is meaningful to me.  It teaches me: To listen is to have an undivided heart and to have an undivided heart is to listen wholeheartedly.  And listening goes before obedience. Without listening, you would not know what to obey.

Reading His words is a form of listening and an essential way to cultivate an undivided heart for Him.

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
ting1 to listen; to hear; to obey;

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
er3 ear;
mu4 eye;
yi1 one; 1; single; a (article); as soon as; entire; whole; all; throughout; “one” radical in Chinese characters (Kangxi radical 1);
xin1 heart; mind; intention; centre; core; CL:顆|颗[ke1],個|个[ge4];


Trad. Simp. Pinyin English
ěr ear


Trad. Simp. Pinyin English
eye; item; section; list; catalogue; table of contents; order (taxonomy); goal; name; title


Trad. Simp. Pinyin English
one; 1; single; a(n); (before verbs) “no sooner did VERB happen than…”; (before a noun) entire (family, etc.)


Trad. Simp. Pinyin English
xīn heart; mind

Reflection on the following verse:

Scripture:Psalm 86: 114

Psalm 86:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name. (Audio reading of this passage in English)

Hear O Lord (Psalm 86 Original Song)

Uploaded by on Jul 12, 2011

Original song based on Psalm 86. “To support my music go to iTunes or http://www.cdbaby.com search for Michael Aggabao. All proceeds will be donated to Fanconi Anemia Research Fund ( FARF) visit http://www.Fanconi.org” (by Michael Aggabao).


Nonprofits & Activism

License: Standard YouTube License

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By Ling-Ling Shih, Copyright © 2009-2012

From http://LearnChineseThruBible.org/


2 comments on “Reflection on Psalm 86: 11 Undivided Heart

  1. 我要一心所以听耶稣
    If I wanted to say (write) “I want an undivided heart so I can hear Jesus.”, would what I have typed make sense? :)

    • There is a set Chinese phrase “一心一意“ (yi1 xin1 yi1 yi4) Chinese usually use. It means ”wholeheartedly.” You can say the following:
      我要一心一意地跟随耶稣。I want to follow Jesus with all my heart. (跟随 gen1 sui2 “to follow”)
      我要一心一意地爱他。 I want to love him wholeheartedly.

      “一心一意+地 de” is used as an adverb.
      You could say, “我要一心一意地听从耶稣的话。” (I want to obey Jesus’ teachings with all my heart.) (听从 ting1 cong2: to obey)

      More phrases and words for you to learn!

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