• Jason Wade


12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Proverbs 23:12

Are we capable of discerning the voice of God through all of the chaos and frustrations of this world? I know that in my life that I find myself in God's presence but so many times I have failed to hear His voice and instruction. Just like we spoke about the other day with horses wearing blinders, sometimes it seems as if my ears are wearing ear plugs. I mean as a child and also having children of my own, I realize that there are things the we all selective listen to and other things that we deem unimportant so it goes into the noise category. Similar to the teacher's voice on any Charlie Brown cartoon. When we don't really want to hear instruction, the message is more like wa, wa wa wa wa. And if you don't believe me, tell me if you have ever fully heard everything and fully understood everything that was said to you as you were walking out the door this morning. I mean there is so much chaos and our minds are not focused on the messages and even though cognitively our ears have heard, our minds categorically put those sounds in the noise category. BUT, once again comes the life lessons of our parents. I have heard this phrase from my parents, teachers, coaches, and others who were trying to lead a class of students that were not getting the picture. God has given us two ears to listen and one mouth to speak for a reason. We are to listen twice as much as we are to speak in order that our hearts are apply to discern the knowledge that is spoken.

I know that may seem a little funny this morning because we have all probably heard that saying, but the more I think about it, it really does make a little sense to me. You know it is like an AHA moment where we come and finally understand what is going on when we slow down enough and listen and pay attention to the situation. I mean we all know that there is so many thing that are capable of pulling at our heart strings, and we finally realize that we have to allow this knowledge that we hear to reach our hearts as a form of protection and discernment. For me, I always err on the side of the heart. I do. With all of the knowledge and wisdom I have attained in this world through different degrees and education, I still err on the side of the heart. And what that really means is that I still have confidence in God's

creation. Even if they are telling me the most outlandish lie to obtain some type of help of some sort, I am still willing to err on the side of the heart and give them something to help them out regardless if I look like a fool. The reason... I tell myself that they have to deal with God one day if they are being deceptive. I am not called to judge, but I am called to be an example of Christ in hopes that maybe the love of Christ will infiltrate their hearts and they will be able to fully give their lives to God. Now, that does not mean I don't listen and I have not been able to gain knowledge on how to deal with situation, but instead of giving someone cash who needs food, I will give them a food gift card or go and buy them a meal. See, just because we have a heart to help people, does not mean that we also cannot learn a better way to help others by listening to what they ask for and providing what they need. That is honing our abilities to listen and using our heart's knowledge to serve.

Solomon continued to hone these talents because as the king he heard people's complaints and needs on a daily basis. He was able to apply his knowledge into wisdom to discern the situations that would arise. His heart was more than willing ready to help those that were in need, but he also was able to recognize the true need that was being presented. For example, when we give someone something to eat, we have helped satisfy their need for the immediate moment. I know that this is hard to believe but our goal is that we retain the knowledge we hear from our ears and show compassion to invest into their lives for more than just the immediate. We should be praying for a way to make a forever change in their life. The old Chinese proverb goes like this, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime." The same principle applies here, but the tru struggle is that the encounters that we have may only be brief and not allow us the opportunity to invest in the long term. BUT we should be preparing for the moment the opportunity may arise and then we can step in with our heart to walk with them in truth. One of the greatest examples that we see this being applied in Solomon's life was the example of the two women and the baby. If you have not heard the story sit back and listen. One day two women come to Solomon's court arguing over the parental rights of a baby. The story is told that both mothers had babies that were the same age. In the night, one of the babies were killed and each mother claimed that the child that was killed was the other mom's child. The battle was for the baby that was still alive. Understand that having a male child during this time was a valuable asset, so each mother frantically was pleading their case to King Solomon. Suddenly, Solomon was ready to make his ruling. He instructed the head of his guards to take the child and cut it in half and give each woman half of the child. The court stood silent as they knew this would mean the immediate death of the child. The first mother screamed with joy and responded, yes, that sounds like a fair judgment. The second mother running to the feet of Solomon in tears said, "No, give the child to the other mother. I would rather my child live than to be killed in this manner." Solomon stopped and rewarded the child to the second mother. In listening to their response, the truth from their hearts revealed who the real mother of the child was and Solomon used his ears to obtain the knowledge he needed to make the wise decision.

I know that was a really long description of the scriptural lesson for today, but in both examples we are able to see the importance of these words. Our ears have a direct line to our hearts that can effect every area of our body. When you win the heart the rest of the body will follow. So whatever you hear with your ears, will be planted in the heart and causes us to create our opinions on the things of this world. That is why Solomon is so adamant that we take hold of these daily teaching on wisdom and find ways to apply them to our lives. The better way to say it may be like this, "Trash in, trash out. God in, God out." If we listen to scripture and godly music that speaks to us about love, grace and mercy, don't be surprised if our lives are filled with finding ways to serve others. If we allow the world to infiltrate our

hearts through what we listen to than guess what... we will easily find out that our choices and decision are influenced by the world. Our ears are a powerful funnel for knowledge and they are able to help in the discernment aspect of our lives. We have to train them for ourselves and pray for the filters that need to be placed over the lives of others in hopes of God's message being heard and not turned into noise. Our hearts are an open field waiting to be planted with the seeds of knowledge, love and wisdom, but if we are not capable of filtering out the good from the bad, then we may never gain the full knowledge of what God is trying to equip us to do in this world. Be careful little ears what you hear, for the field of the heart is vulnerable to the seeds that are planted.

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