9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Paul wrote several times indicating that he desired that we would have greater knowledge of God. But the knowledge that Paul desired for us was experiential, not just insight. We experience God when we walk in the same footsteps as Him. And as we do, God reveals his very nature and character to us:
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7
It is the experiential understanding of God that Paul desires of us. When we get head knowledge, we can become puffed up, and pride can enter into our lives. When we live what we know, we become humbled as we realize just how far short of the glory of God we truly are. Humility is the key to understanding:
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. – James 4:10
It is when we experience God’s character ourselves that we begin to change drastically. We are better able to walk in His ways as we practice living His character. When we merely come to an intellectual ascent to God’s word, we may agree in principal but not in practical application with what we have learned. It is only through the practical application of knowledge that true progress in any field of endeavor is made.
A person can study tennis for years by watching matches, reading books, news articles, and listening to radio shows on the subject. However, after years of study, without practically applying what has been learned, for most people, they would be unable to return a volley from a seasoned tennis player. What a tragedy it is to see people comb through the scriptures but never to experience God’s character! The Jews did the same thing. They searched the scripture seeking eternal life. The law only points us to the fact that we cannot keep the law, and therefore we seek salvation from God Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.
So, let’s ask a question: How has God revealed Himself to you as you have personally experienced His character?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are wonderful and beautiful to behold. You reveal Yourself to us through Your word, and experientially as we walk in Your character. Reveal Yourself to me today in a greater and deeper way as I walk in Your footsteps. Show Yourself to me, Lord God, for I greatly desire to see You, and be in Your presence. Give me such hunger for You that my soul would pant for you like a thirsty deer for water. And like David, I can say with gladness that a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. Strengthen me this day as I strive to experientially know You better. Help me to walk in Your ways, and to have better heart-knowledge of Your Word as You reveal Yourself to me. This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?