Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom


One might see in these attributes a sort of hierarchical sequence, when one has knowledge he can then achieve understanding and then have the wisdom to act upon what he understands. Sadly, this process also has a worldly counterpart to what the Lord would have us learn. Those in the world are called “wiser” (Luke 16:8) than Christians in that many can figure out how to advantage themselves at the expense of others in pretty crafty ways.

The progression of learning that is available to Christians might be seen as starting with bible stories in Sunday school which begins to teach the knowledge of God, Jesus, and the history of Israel. We can grow in understanding like the disciples did when they had the parables explained to them by Jesus. However, wisdom is from God and through his Spirit which dwells with those that the Spirit has placed into the body of Christ through faith.

There is a degree to sequential attainment of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, but they also overlap significantly. For example one can read the bible many times only to “discover” a meaningful verse that was overlooked in the past. It is expected that we will continue to increase in knowledge (Col 1:10) all the while we also increase in understanding and wisdom (Col 1:9).

The path of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that is available to Christians is not available to others (1Cor 2:14). Those who have the wisdom of the world find that they might be successful in their schemes to satisfy their lusts, desires, and ambitions, however they may discover that the price they pay is very high (Luke 16:25, 1Tim 6:10). There is a degree of delusion that accompanies the “wisdom” of the world (Rom 1:22). This highlights a key distinction between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom from God, that of .truth.

With God, truth is absolute and unchangeable. In the world what is called “truth” is more of a tool to get what one wants. It can be used to deceive, blind, or comfort (1Cor 3:19). Perhaps a good first step for a Christian is to begin to appreciate how different the world is from that to which we are called (1John 2:16). Satan has designed the world to appeal to our flesh. Discernment is critical to the Christian to avoid those paths that would obstruct, hinder, and cripple our spiritual growth (Prov 16:25). Discernment is said to increase in proportion to “exercise” (Heb 5:14).

There are several ways Christians can increase in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Reading the bible is key. Prayer for ourselves and each other is also important. We sometimes can think of our Christian life like school work, where only the smart can succeed in their studies. Christianity is not something that needs to be memorized to pass a test, it is more like an exploration with speculation and questioning. It can be like being engaged with puzzle solving.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons many Christians come to see their faith as unrelated to real life is that they have not been shown that solving problems of understanding can be fun and profitable (Luke 24:32). Just being able to avoid some of the many deceptions of the world is a great advantage. I knew a woman who taught second grade. She commented once that the kids she saw as eager to learn in second grade seemed to be cynical, world weary, and disinterested by fourth grade.

We should pray that God would give us youthful hearts with a joy to question and explore the “why” of the things of God such that we might draw nearer to him in knowledge, understanding, wisdom and truth.



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