“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”Proverbs 23:12
I’ve always been interested in Pedagogy, more commonly understood as the study of how we learn.
In my college days, I can remember staying up all night, ‘cramming’ for an exam the next day. Some studies show that cramming helps. Others indicate that a good night’s sleep would be more beneficial. What is most beneficial is an ongoing process of learning leading up to the exam, followed by a good night’s sleep!
I’ve tried to memorize lists, use mnemonic devices to remember key facts, and attempted many other methods of learning. Truth be told, I’ve forgotten much more than I remember. Top notch professors have used their knowledge to fill my head. Excellent preachers have proclaimed the truths of Scripture to fill my heart. Countless authors have spilled their lives in ink onto pages I have devoured, trying to glean what I could from their interpretations and life experiences. Most of it doesn’t stick. Again, I’ve forgotten more than I remember. But still I learn. Still I listen. Still I read. And in that, I’ve discovered a key to learning that is absolutely vital, and it is here in this Proverbs. Read too fast and you just might miss it. It’s the very first word in the Proverb. Do you see it? This word, I believe, is the true key to learning. Apply.
When I listen, when I learn, when I read, it is just instruction. It makes an impression, but not a very deep one. When I apply what I learn, it leads to something else, something better, something lasting. Transformation.
Motivational speaker and former NFL star Trent Shelton puts it this way: Application leads to Transformation. That says it well, but I would add a bit to that statement. Instruction without Application is Information. Instruction with Application is Transformation. If we truly want instruction not just to inform us, but to transform us, there is no better way than to apply what we learn. Which is exactly what Proverbs tells us! Don’t miss this! Application means letting instruction go into our minds as information, but go deeper into our hearts and out of our lives as transformation. This involves taking the extra step(s) of doing something with the knowledge that you have gained. Most people fail in areas of life because they fail to take action. I’ve done it. You probably have too. But we don’t have to fall short. We don’t have to fail.
Years ago I realized that I settled for information rather than transformation far too often. So I started a list, simply entitled “Do Something.” And I began to write different ideas on that list, and when I had done it, I wrote the date and a brief description of how I accomplished the task. And many of those things I’ve done have been transformative for myself and for others. Do something! Take Action! Application leads to Transformation. How are you letting Jesus not simply inform, but transform your life today?