What’s the meaning of applying your heart to understanding? We say apply common sense to your problem. So we say apply your heart to understanding? Apply lotion to you skin; apply your heart to understanding, that means put your heart into understanding.
ESV says incline your heart to understanding. I think first treasure God’s word or command in your heart, then listen with spiritual ears carefully to wisdom, exegete the wisdom, extract the wisdom of the word of God, and then apply this understanding to your heart. Knowledge and understating means nothing if we don’t apply our hearts to it. It will still be just head knowledge, but not heart knowledge.
This is the sequence:
Store up God’s words within you
Or treasure up God’s words in your heart. That means read it carefully, slowly, digest it, pray through it, and ask the Lord to open your eyes that you may see the wonders of his law. A good helpful tool is a study Bible to cross check . Though remember this tool acts only as supplement, the most important thing is the meditation between you and God. I sometimes read the commentary notes from my NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible, Zondervan, which I highly recommend. Then I think through what it means from historical, theological perspectives to intersect what my thoughts are with God. They may be good or may not be relevant at all, but it’s good to take a look when you need it, though not all the time.
Sometimes, in fact, the times that really impressed in my heart, is when I felt impressed in my heart a certain verse as I read through the passage of the day. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit works, and indeed this blog is written with a verse that’s stuck in my mind, Prov 2:2 in my morning devotion this morning. I haven’t had a verse stuck to me this way for more than a week or two. So I decided to expound it. So when that happens, I look it up in the commentary, read it in context, and pray and ask the Lord to open my eyes. Prayerful meditation is the most powerful way to exegete a passage. With eyes closed and a calmed down heart. If you feel a verse quickened or spoken unto your heart, it will stick with you, and that’s the treasure of that verse, or store up God’s word, ESV & NIV bibles, depending on version. KJV says hide my commandments with thee. Hide, put it inside of your soul.
Make Your Ear Attentive to Wisdom
It means listen carefully to the wisdom of that verse, with you heart and ear. With all your heart, ask questions, analyze it, think about your own life, let it flow through your soul, soak in your being. Come out of the closet with God a changed person. Meditation is the single most powerful way to connect with God together with worship. Without the Word (Bible), we can’t worship properly. The Lord says you will worship him in Spirit and truth. They go hand in hand.
We crave for wisdom. I try to read Proverbs, every other day when I read Psalm daily, with meditation of course. Take your time in the morning. Remember, not being legalistic, prayer and meditation is best on mornings. Psalms 1 does say blessed is the man who meditates upon the word of God day and night. So morning and night. Proverbs provides multitude of wisdom.
And Apply Your Heart to Understanding
Proverbs 2:2 (ESV)
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
After you treasured the word, then listen carefully, finally apply your heart to understanding. You got understanding from the first two steps, you want to apply your heart to it. Usually we say apply understanding to your heart, but it’s the reverse here. ESV says incline your heart to understanding. Incline means lean into it. Feel willing or favorably disposed toward (an action, belief, or attitude)
Favorably disposed towards understanding. Incline means favored towards it. Favored towards understanding. In a sense, you may get understanding, but you may dislike it, or unwilling to embrace it, and hence reject it. But the wisdom exhortation here is to be favorably disposed towards it. You like it, you feel drawn towards it, you feel convicted, touched. All words to describe it, it’s very important emotionally we are drawn towards it. The presence of God must be there to happen.
One we have inclined to understanding, our decision making will be favorably disposed towards God’s wisdom, understanding, and this will make a lot of difference in life, this will make a difference between life and death, good marriage and bad one, good children or bad, good ministry or distraught ministry, and the list goes on and on.
Finally, Jesus is the wisdom, the logos of God.
John 1:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Christ is the embodiment of all wisdom and understanding, all things were made through him and for him. Accept Jesus into your life and walk with the Holy Spirit daily, for the Lord Jesus is our redeemer, he opens up the door to commune with God who is the source of all understanding and wisdom. Jesus changes our hearts. Run to Jesus every day, and pray and read and meditate. God bless!