And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment
real knowledge: This is the Greek word epignosis, which means knowledge, correct knowledge. It is a combination of two words epi which is upon or on and gnosis which is knowledge.
Our love must grow up from an immature expression to a very precise, disciplined meeting of the needs of others so that they are impacted by God and by us. This takes knowledge at a high level. Sometimes what seems right is the wrong thing. I have watched as the spouses of alcoholics have coddled and enabled them, thinking they were loving them; but they were really crippling the person with their immature version of love. I remember working with a man whose mother tried to protect him from every bully, every difficulty, and every problem when he was growing up. She thought she was loving him, but she was destroying him. He became completely dependent on her and when she died in his early twenties, he was lost as a person. Love means to meet a person’s needs, not to coddle them.
I have learned over the years how to love my wife more completely, more intelligently, more clearly. In the beginning of our marriage I was taking stabs at what she needed and would be pleased by. Now after having spent almost twenty wonderful years with this woman, I am much better equipped to meet her needs, pursue her soul, and please her. Marriage can be a wonderful ride of deepening love and commitment. I also, unfortunately, have watched people who have grown apathetic about what they know of their spouses. They stop using the knowledge that they have gained to inject love in new ways and with deeper results. They have just ignored the need for love and have grown used to the person. This is tragic. The joy of life comes in abounding love that grows more intelligent with time.
all discernment: This is the Greek word aisthesis, which means judgment, perception, thinking clearly, discernment. The idea is to perceive what is really going in a situation and apply what is really needed and not what is asked for or what would seem to be appropriate on the surface.
There are solutions to problems and difficult situations. They are just not on the surface nor always easy. It is the person who has trained their love that penetrates into the problem with a real solution. We live in a culture where people want an easy and warm solution. But real love, at times, has to do hard things and has to meet the deeper psychological or spiritual need rather than the emotional want.
The Apostle Paul is calling on God’s people to pray, asking for God’s wisdom and to become much more discerning in how we treat people. This is not just a “hug everyone” philosophy. Just because what seemed like it would work didn’t work, it is not time to give up on love. It is time for a more knowledgeable and discerning love.
Where are you going to apply a wiser and more discerning love?
Who needs you to love them with more discernment and knowledge?
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.