Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
There are two kinds of people in the world. Some seek after God and his wisdom, others don’t. That’s pretty much it.
Christians are by nature (new nature) in the first category. They know the will of God is clearly stated in the Bible, and they make every effort to submit to it. Instruction leads to knowledge, leads to wisdom, to faith, contentment, and therefore true happiness. That’s the prize at the bottom of the box.
Why bother applying ourselves in the pursuit of wisdom?
What do we focus on when we do apply ourselves?
Instruction, knowledge, and wisdom work together like those bumpers at the bowling alley, keeping the novice on target and increasing the likelihood that he will knock down some pins.
In this simple saying of the wise, the author turns to the spiritual reservoir and inlet of every person.
The heart is the place where all knowledge and wisdom resides. It’s the well you draw upon in the time of decision. The quality and size of that well determines the measure of the man. Therefore, specific effort must be made to guard what goes into it.
So the answer to the first question is that we should apply ourselves because it will make us better people. We’ll have capacity. We’ll have depth. We’ll actually have something worth while to tell our kids and grandkids.
The ear is a figurative way of describing the pipeline leading to the heart. Either it is open, and biblical instruction gets in, or it’s obstructed with debris because it’s been hooked up to what the world offers instead.
This is the answer to question two. Focus on getting something specific from a clean source. You can start with Bible reading. Add to that a good devotional like My Utmost for His Highest. Listen to a sermon on the your commute or during a run. The point is that your ear needs to be tuned to knowledge. Everything else is noise.