Strengths of the Heart, Part 3: An Active Heart

A series that examines how God uses the strengths of the human heart to build relationships

In scripture, the term “heart” is used to denote a person’s inner self. The heart is the center of spiritual activity, moral understanding, and human will.

God uses the human heart to build relationships, helping you and those in your life to complete one another.

In particular, He uses a teachable heart (one receptive to God’s instruction), an understanding heart (one that cries out to God in humility and need, seeking to use strengths purposely), and an active heart (one that puts information into practice.)

An Active Heart Is Honest

worship handsProverbs 23:12 tells us, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge” (ESV)

To apply is to put to use. You apply the brakes to keep your car from hitting a pedestrian in the parking lot. You apply the rules when you play Scrabble so that your competitors don’t make up words in order to gain a higher score.

God tells us to put to use the information He gives us about our strengths and the strengths of those around us.

It is a command that comes with both a promise of blessing (“A doer who acts will be blessed in his doing,” James 1:22-25, ESV) and a warning against disingenuousness (“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” James 1:22-25, ESV).

An inactive heart hears the truths about its strengths but does nothing about the information. This heart is a “hearer only.” It deceives itself into believing that gathering data is the task, saying, “I have been open to hearing about my strengths and the strengths in others. My responsibility is done.”

Yet God explains that an inactive heart – hearing and not doing – leads to self-deception, dishonesty, and duplicity. Inaction opens the door for a life of lies.

An active heart faces the truth with honesty, even when using your strengths and blending with the strengths of others is hard work.

An Active Heart Is Proactive

An active heart is not passive, waiting for the next step to happen upon it. To “apply your heart to instruction” means to take initiative and to participate in the process. An active heart is proactive.

This heart knows that gathering information is an important step in the process, but the job is not yet done. An active heart sets itself up for blessing by being “a doer who acts” upon strengths data, working to blend with those around him.

What About Your Heart?

A teachable heart is one that is open to discovering God’s design for differences. An understanding heart uses God’s insights to build relationships. An active heart engages in forward progress.

Is your heart one that God can use?

Growth Point

An active heart is a doing heart.


Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12, ESV)

Prayer Points

  • Ask God to show one area of strengths in which He wants you to take action.
  • Which area of your heart is strongest: teachability, understanding, or action?
  • In which of these three areas is God calling you to grow?

Strengths of the Heart

Strengths of the Heart, Part 1: A Teachable Heart

Strengths of the Heart, Part 2: An Understanding Heart

Devotionals about Gratitude

Gratitude is Pro-Active

How to Be Thankful for Differences in Others

Devotionals: The Puzzle of Strengths

The Puzzle of Strengths, Part 1: The Puzzle of Unique Strengths

The Puzzle of Strengths, Part 2: The Puzzle of Interlocking Pieces

The Puzzle of Strengths, Part 3: The Missing Puzzle Piece

Devotionals: Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths

Part 1: Managing Change – Let’s Go or Let’s Make a Plan

Part 2: Processing Information: That’s Wonderful or Give Me Proof

Part 3: Problem Solving: Fix It Now or One Step at a Time?

Part 4: Facing Risk: Outside the Box or Work the System?