Maintaining a God-Focus is one of our core values at Positive Action. We believe that true character change can only come about as students come to know and love God. Frank Hamrick shares some of this philosophy in his book, The Heart of the Matter. In the excerpt below, he explains how teachers should emphasize a proper heart over conformity in the classroom.
A God-focused school will emphasize heart over conformity. David puts it this way in Psalm 51:6 and 16:
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. . . . For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering (ESV).
Once more David and Moses agree. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses had said, “These things that I command you this day must be in thy heart . . . and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.”
Does this mean that God is not concerned with outward conduct? Of course not. For example, Moses warns the people to “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God in not keeping His commandments” (Deut. 8:11). Here the emphasis is on conduct. We must always remember the relationship between “being” and “doing.” Being has to do with who I am; it has to do with my heart. Doing has to do with how I behave. Both are important, but being cannot be faked, and it cannot be forced. Doing, on the other hand, can be sourced in scores of motives, some of which are righteous and some of which are very sinful and selfish. God wants obedience from a pure heart rather than behavior that is either learned, forced, or motivated by selfishness.
If we are not careful, our schools will produce youth who say the right things and do the right things, but for all the wrong reasons.
When we emphasize academics, or conformity to rules, or behavior over the spiritual condition of the heart, we produce New Testament Pharisees. They knew every detail of the Old Testament, they were sticklers for rules, they counted and cataloged the commandments, and they grievously policed behavior; but they had little heart for God. . . .
To reach the heart of youth, we must do more than preach to them or teach academic facts. If we would reach their hearts, we must disciple them. A study of New Testament discipleship can be summed up simply as “spending time with Christ.” That’s how the disciples were discipled. They simply spent time with Him. If youth are to be discipled today, then we must spend time with them out of class, and they must spend time with Christ.
Teachers must demonstrate a genuine love for Almighty God, a longing for Him, a thirst for Him, and a passion for Him that their students sense merely by being around their teacher. Before they begin to love God, they must see their mentors loving Him.