Sometimes we get into the habit of saying that this particular chapter has nothing to do with us and there is no way to apply it to us or find something meaningful to our situations. But sometimes we must take a step back and look at the overview and then compare similarities to our lives.
Look For: Try to state the overall essence of what you read in the simplest form. Look for general patterns that are similar to your situation.
Example: Jeremiah preaches to his people in Jerusalem who are going to be destroyed and put into captivity for their wickedness. But they don't believe him because everything seems fine. There seems no immediate danger and no one is getting any consequences. When Pashur, the chief governor in the temple, puts Jeremiah in the stocks, Jeremiah gives Pashur a new name. Well, how could this relate to us? Can it teach us something? Are there ever times we or those around us put the prophet in the spiritual "stocks"? The reason Pashur put Jeremiah in the stocks was because he didn't like what the prophet said so he decided to not listen to him. Pashur in Hebrew means "free" and many of us think that we are "free" to choose what ever we want without consequences. But Jeremiah changes his name to Magor-missabib which means "terror all around." I'm sure Pashur protested and said, "No, I'm not surrounded by terror!. I'm Pashur--I'm free! You're the one in the stocks with all of your confining rules and standards!" But this prophet wisely points out that when we don't listen to the prophet it is like putting him in stocks to our hearts and though we may think we are free, actually when we are in a state of sin and rebellion, there is terror all around us even if we can't see it right away.
(Adapted from Panning for Gold: Various Methods to Understand and Apply the Scriptures to Ourselves by Eric Bacon, Northwest Area Seminaries)