Proverbs 23: 12
Apply your heart to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.
The work of applying our hearts and ears to the Word of God is not easy and requires the work of the Holy Spirit. The heart needs to be forcefully applied to good instruction because it is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). The heart, on its own, is only inclined to evil in the spiritual realm. It cannot be trusted.
Likewise, our ears needs to be applied to right knowledge because there are so many “truths” out there clamoring for attention, and they can appear to be very reasonable and appealing. There are many ways that seem right to men, but in the end they lead to death.
So what are we to do? We need to regularly expose ourselves to God’s Word. Many Christians fall short here. They leave rigorous Bible study to seminary trained professionals. As helpful as they can be, they are no substitute for the daily meditation on God’s Word. We need to be like the Bereans of Paul’s day who examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11).
Finally, the real work of application is performed by the Holy Spirit as he takes the word and applies it to our life by challenging, comforting, encouraging, and convicting us. The Holy Spirit does not come as a voice from heaven, but always accompanies the Word of God. The Spirit knows exactly what we need to hear. His work of application is unmistakable. Before you have any encounter with God’s Word, ask the Holy Spirit to open your ears and heart and apply the Word to your life. Then watch and wonder at the changes that take place.