What does it mean to apply your heart to understanding?

27. Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?

Mosiah 12:27

King Noah’s priests quoted the scriptures. They taught the people the Law of Moses, which they claimed they followed. But they had not applied their hearts to understanding. They had a surface-level knowledge of the scriptures, which did them no good. The gospel requires the heart and not just the mind.

These false priests participated in evil practices. They set their hearts upon riches, spent their strength with harlots, and led the people astray. Disciples of Jesus Christ should set their hearts on God, spend their strength on learning His gospel, and lead others to Him.

As I read this scripture, I think of focus. Focusing on something requires effort (heart and strength). It should be hard. We should struggle to learn how we personally learn the gospel. Think of Enos, who described receiving a remission of his sins, as a wrestle with God. If you hurry through your scripture study to get to your activity of choice, then you are not applying your heart to understanding. 

I struggle with this principle. I habitually read my scriptures every day. This habit has been a part of my routine for years. I usually read for ten minutes a day. I can quote scriptures. I know the stories. I could testify of the power of the scriptures. However, I know my study is sometimes only surface-level studying. Some days the scriptures never make it from my mind to my heart.

Writing has helped me to bring the Word into my heart. Writing forces me to think about what I am trying to say, and what I truly believe. The Lord trusts us with more spiritual knowledge when we write revelation down. Richard G. Scott taught “Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritual sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light.”

Reading the scriptures brings God’s great ideas into your mind, but we need to cement them in our hearts. We must ponder the word, we must put the gospel into our own words. We must act on the word, planting the seed of obedience in our hearts. Christ-like attributes of faith, humility, and patience are needed.

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