Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding.

Who are the voices that are loudest in your life? Do they all agree with you? Who has access to speak wisdom into your life—both when it feels good and when it hurts a little bit?

Solomon, in Proverbs 2, reminded God’s people that true wisdom is only received from God. But we need ears that are ready to receive and hearts that pursue understanding. This starts by being attentive to God’s words and commands (2:1). It is too easy to grab the closest nugget or soundbite that we hear, see, or read. But are we hearing everything else through a gospel filter? Being attentive to something means constantly tending to it—this takes consistent and concerted effort. We must regularly be leaning into God’s Word—letting it shape, mold, encourage, inform, and correct us. We must have ears that are constantly listening for the voice of our shepherd. But it doesn’t stop there.

When you listen, are you actually seeking to understand? Hearing must lead to understanding. We may find it hard to empathize with those who have had very different experiences. We may not even agree with the choices they have made in response to those experiences. But we can listen enough to understand. We can seek to understand their pain, frustrations, and wounds. We can listen to their fears, anxieties, and struggles. We can seek to understand those who grew up in a different part of town or those who have a different color skin. We can seek to understand those who have different values and convictions. With God’s help, we can understand. Understanding doesn’t always lead to agreement. But if we are tending to the words and ways of God and inclining our hearts to understand Him and those around us, then we are moving in wisdom.

Sadly, too often we are attentive to controversy and inclined to rumor. That isn’t the way of Jesus—the one who saw the overlooked, heard the misunderstood, and bent down to the broken. If He isn’t the loudest voice in our lives, then we will be attentive to all the other voices who shout for our attention instead.

• What are your ears most attentive to right now? What voices get your attention before anything else? How is God’s Word shaping your understanding?

• Where do you need help understanding? Is there someone or something you are struggling to understand and have compassion for? Who in your life can you listen and learn from?

• Ask the Lord to give you the wisdom that only He can. Ask Him to empower your discipline and diligence as you seek to be attentive to Him. Ask Him to incline your heart toward Him and toward understanding.