“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9–11, NIV84)
I imagine most Christians wish they did a better job of daily discerning the right approach to take or the right thing to do. Today’s verses tell us that Paul prayed specifically that the Philippians would grow in this ability. The reason is obvious. The more discerning we are in our daily lives, the more often the Lord will be testified to and glorified and praised for how He works in us and in the world.
Given the importance of this ability to be discerning, I want us all to notice something very significant in Paul’s prayer. Paul says he prays that their “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” At first glance, one might not see the connection between love and knowledge/insight. In the world we live in, these things do not need to be connected. One can have the greatest intellect but not have a loving nature. But from God’s perspective, they go hand in hand. Paul is not talking about earthly knowledge but rather spiritual wisdom. Since God is the source of spiritual wisdom, and He is also love, the two are inseparable.
It is no good to just grow in biblical knowledge and insight without also growing in love. The result would be to become like a legalistic pharisee. We have enough Christians walking around thinking that their knowledge gives them the right to judge and condemn the world. Our example has to be Jesus. No one was wiser than Jesus, nor was anyone more compassionate. Jesus is the perfect picture of how love and wisdom go hand in hand. Only when these two things are growing together within us will we have the ability to properly discern situations in our lives on a spiritual level.
May we always season our growing knowledge of biblical truths with the unconditional love that God has shown to us.