Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
This verse is just a simple command from God to us. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but we all probably know we should follow it.
“Apply your heart” has to do with my attitude, my thinking. I’m going to have to make a conscious decision here.
The choice is to “apply your heart to instruction.” Often translated as “discipline,” “training” or “education,” the idea is that I would actually think I need some and then go for it!
Also there is “apply…your ears to words of knowledge.” This suggests an action – listening – something I can and should do. “Knowledge” suggests additional information that would be helpful to me.
I think the very order of this verse is significant. It starts with my thinking (“apply your heart”). If I am going to make any permanent life changes and really get better, I am going to have to change on the inside first.
But there are some actions (“apply…your ears”) I’ll need to work on, too. I used to think that spirituality centered on behaviors – I just needed to do better! But I just couldn’t make myself consistently do all these things.
My only hope was to initially change on the inside, like this verse suggests. The more we practice right thinking – which produces appropriate behaviors – the quicker and more supernaturally we can live differently and enjoy life to the full!