We have looked at the word “love” as it is used in Philippians 1:9-11; it is AGAPE LOVE and it is all that love can be. It is boundless in quality and in quantity; it is a love that is full to running over. We also see in these verses that agape love is full of knowledge, which includes a full depth of insight or wise insight. What is meant by these phrases?
“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.”
KNOWLEDGE is defined as an understanding of, an awareness of, keen perception, wise discernment, to be sure of, a certainty of rightness. Knowledge involves. . .
UNDERSTANDING: comprehending the nature and significance of, knowing thoroughly, grasping completely
AWARENESS: being conscious of through the senses
DISCERNMENT: detecting something that is obscure or concealed, perceiving the distinctions of, discriminating
INSIGHT: the ability to discern the true nature of a situation
WISE: with wisdom, prudent, sensible love; to act in a way that shows good sense, careful in one’s conduct
WISE INSIGHT: depth of insight
Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book on Philippians entitled The Joy of Living writes, “This love is not an indiscriminate love: it is a love that manifests itself, FIRST in knowledge and SECOND in judgment. The love for which Paul prays is defined by the Word of God, bound by the Word of God, and conforms to the love of God revealed in His Word. It is an intelligent love, not an indiscriminate love.”
Knowledge and wise insight come from knowing God better. To love according to knowledge is to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. Through the Word of God, we come increasingly to an understanding of what God expects of the one who loves Him. We discover more and more about God’s love. We determine to make choices for our lives that will bring us into conformity with the love of God as He reveals it through His Word.
We come to comprehend what God can and does love, and what God, because He is a holy God, must hate. This is a knowledgeable love. This is a discriminating love. It is a love that makes moral distinctions or moral judgements that conform to the holy character of God.
When love is without knowledge, when it is undiscerning, one might love everything, even the wrong things. It is vitally important to strive to gain a true understanding of what Paul is saying here, because we live in a society that teaches us to love and embrace ALL ideas and fascinations, without exercising any moral judgment or discernment.
We are constantly called to accept and to love without boundaries. A cartoon I saw illustrates this. It showed a group of people picketing outside the White House. Their signs, reflecting their loves, their concerns read: “Save the Forests”, “Save the Whales”, Save the Coyotes”, “Kill the Babies”. It is truly a terrible thing to love without knowledge and wise insight.
As we compare scripture to scripture, we find another of Paul’s prayers in Colossians 1:9 -12:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding . . .” And why do we pray this? “In order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, and being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, so that you may have great endurance, and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
MAY OUR LOVE GROW RICHER AND STRONGER IN KNOWLEDGE. May we grow to a greater understanding of the nature and significance of the relationships that are a part of our life. May we be conscious of, cognizant of, and fully alert to what is happening in our interactions. May our senses be sharpened so that we can see clearly things that are obscure, partially hidden, or concealed. May we be able to clearly discern the difference in right and wrong.
MAY OUR LOVE FLOURISH WITH WISE INSIGHT. With wisdom that comes from God, may we have the ability to detect the true nature of situations that come into our life. What has brought them about? How will my responses affect everyone who is involved, for now and for eternity?
“And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more (displaying itself in greater depth) in real knowledge and in practical insight, so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent (identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences), and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ (actually living lives that lead others away from sin); filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (so that His glory may be both revealed and recognized.)” (Amplified translation)
As Paul reminds us, our calling and purpose is to demonstrate the love of Christ, which is full of knowledge and wise insight. Thank you God, for Your wisdom, available to me when I ask!