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 for the day of Christ. Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

As I read those verses I thought . . .knowledge without wisdom and discernment is just knowing facts. Discernment sifts through the facts to find the truth and wisdom knows what to do with it.

(What do you think about discernment, wisdom, and knowledge and what do they have to do with abundant love?)

I read Phil. 1:9 again and thought knowledge and discernment = abundant love. Hmmm. Does that mean biblical knowledge alone doesn’t really help us love others or even apply scripture to our own lives? I would say yes because I’ve known people who have much scriptural knowledge yet aren’t kind (let alone loving) to the people around them, especially those closest to them. So, they lack discernment and wisdom because they aren’t able to apply scripture to their daily lives. I’ve been dealing with practicing what I preach in my own life lately. How about you?

To love myself and others, I have to dig deeper into the Word to know Jesus and understand the attributes of God. Sometimes I need to talk it through with another believer wiser than myself to understand the meaning of some Scripture. Only as I learn for myself who Jesus is, can I understand God’s love for me, be more like him, and love other people like he does.

First Thessalonians 5:21-22 teaches that it is the responsibility of every Christian to be discerning: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Spiritual discernment is a way to perceive the wisdom (Proverbs 8:1-6) that God speaks to us all day long in the Scripture. Listening to the” still small voice” of the Holy Spirit requires us to be still ourselves, and be aware of the small things in our daily lives that contain wisdom.

Henri Nouwen wrote “When we are rooted in prayer and solitude and form part of a community of faith, certain signs are given to us in daily life as we struggle for answers to spiritual questions. The books we read, the nature we enjoy, the people we meet, and the events we experience contain within themselves signs of God’s presence and guidance day by day.”

That says it so well.

Father, please help us to be still, dig deeper into scripture, seek your wisdom, and receive divine discernment.

Deb Hill
Assistant to Ryan Paulson

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