M got to do with it?
podcast, anyone? http://www.pastorwoman.com/podcasts/495dc1a2-a6f5-4881-afd8-546fa5a55723.m4a
God's Word leapt of the page at me yesterday.1 Studying and writing about 'Paul's perfect prayer' in verses 9 through 11 of Philippians 1, bells of familiarity started going off in my head. Hmm, Paul prayed for his loved ones to have more love in their lives which would produce knowledge and discernment and the ability to choose the "excellent".
Remember Paul's words?
"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (NASB)
Let's think about this-more of God's love in our lives should produce knowledge, discernment and the ability to choose the 'excellent'... It appears that Love has just met Lady Wisdom.
What is wisdom? The wisdom God supplies has several components:
>understanding - what is true, right, lasting
>discretion - the ability to decide responsibly
>prudence - wise in handling practical matters, exercising good judgment, common sense, careful about one's conduct
>discernment - keen insight
>knowledge - the body of wise teaching
>action - in exercising discretion, prudence, or discernment. It may surprise you to see 'action' linked with wisdom, but what good is any of the above qualities of wisdom, if once you see things clearly, you fail to exercise it? Wisdom must therefore impact our actions.
Hmmm ... why yes, there is quite a connection between love that comes from God and the wisdom of God. We read in Proverbs, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.'2 And from the apostle John, 'Dear friends, let us love one another, for LOVE COMES FROM GOD. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.'3
The connection of love and wisdom is unmistakable. The reason? Both emanate from God. Truly, Love and Wisdom are founded in the heart of God.
Our Lord's half-brother, James, told us that if we ask God for wisdom, he will give it to us.4 You and I can and ought to ask God daily for his wisdom-that we might be discerning, prudent, etc.
May I boldly challenge you to start your day with prayer? Set apart an area of quiet, and commune with your Father. If Jesus made this a priority, oh, how much more do you and I need to do it? Include praise, a time of confession, and then begin your petitions/your requests by asking God for wisdom, that you may have understanding, knowledge, discretion, discernment, prudence and the presence of mind to execute them!
Ask God to grow his love in your life ... that you may choose what is excellent. You see, fully developed love never travels alone. It is accompanied by all the other virtues. It functions in beautiful cooperation with full knowledge and keen discernment.5 How good, how right! Some say love is blind...bah! Love is perceptive, and when it meets wisdom, gives the heart and mind the ability to separate not only good from bad, but also, the important from the unimportant.
Dear Father, I pray for my friends around the world right this moment ... I pray, Lord God, that you would grow their love for you exponentially, in such a way that it cannot help but flow over into the lives of others. I pray that you would cause them to turn to you, the Author of Wisdom, and ask, that they may receive! And having received the wisdom from above that is pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere,6 they might bring honor to you from their lives. Amen.
1 Hebrews 4.12
2 Proverbs 9.10
3 1 John 4.7
4 James 1.5
5 William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Philippians
6 James 3.17