Apply your heart to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.
It’s the start of a new academic year. It is an opportunity to experience new things, solidify some old knowledge, expand or deepen your understandings, and to grow in ways you cannot even imagine at this moment. It’s called learning. But how does it happen? The truly unique thing about your experience in college is not really that it is a place to learn (although that is the outcome desired). Learning takes place in all kinds of places in life. Schools, in general, are places that are designed and intended to be places of instruction and sharing of words of knowledge. As a result they are special places where God can fundamentally change your life.
While Proverbs 23:12 is advice for all of life, it is of particular importance for you as a student at Taylor University in 2018. You will be exposed to all kinds of instruction and words in your classes. What are you to do with them? When the instruction is godly and biblical (and not all instruction is), you are to apply it to your heart. That does not mean place it someplace where it can be easily recalled for the test and then forget about it (which research shows happens more frequently than you might expect).
To apply something to your heart is to activate it as a part of the essence of your life. In the Old Testament understanding, your heart is the center of both physical and emotional-intellectual-moral activity. Applying your instruction means to take it into these two areas of your life and let it make a difference. It becomes part of the fabric of who you are. When it does, it is seen when others interact with you in all kinds of situations. Tuning your ears to instruction trains you in wisdom and truth that is applied to your understanding of the world.
Every phase of your life is special and unique. Each is used by God to instruct you and to activate the reality of Jesus in your life. Your role is to be attentive, discern the godliness of what you hear, and apply it to your hearts. What things do you think God wants to activate in your heart this semester? Ask Him to be your guide throughout this experience so that you will become more like Jesus as you go through all aspects of this year. Ask Him to make the lessons visible in your life lived with everyone around you. Live this semester with Him as your leader and your audience--it’s amazing what He does then!!