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Devotional by Ray Stedman for March 3-Love With Knowledge

Topic:Love With Knowledge

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight…
Phil 1:9

Ray Stedman devotion
Ray Stedman

Now if you and I were writing a letter to new Christians, wanting to stir them up to activity, what would we say? Would we not probably urge them to witness, because somehow in our day there has come the idea that all Christian life exists for but one purpose — that the believer may be a verbal witness. And if we are fulfilling that job in talking with someone about God, we are fulfilling all that is expected of us in our Christian lives.

But Paul doesn’t say a word about this. Because, of course, love in action is the greatest witness. He says, that your love may abound more and more. That the love of Christ which is in you, and which you can’t help but find there if you are at all a believer, may now find expression in affection. What does that mean? That means there is some resulting activity — love in action! Not promise but performance. I think they needed this in Philippi, and I think we need it wherever we live as well, that our love may abound in activity. Otherwise, it’s as James says, faith without works is dead. If love doesn’t show itself in some action, then it’s not real love.

There are two things added: with knowledge and depth of insight. Love by itself, left to flow unchecked and unregulated, can sometimes be disastrous. Love acts like hate when it refuses to think. All of us have had experience with people who mean well, but they never bother to get the facts and to see if they can help intelligently, and sometimes they are a great nuisance. Paul says that isn’t enough. Love with knowledge. Learn the situation. See how you can really help. Don’t just plan to help without any investigation as to whether it will do the job.

Then, love with depth of insight. Paul means there is a time to help, and people to be helped, but there are times not to help and people who ought not to be helped. One of the weaknesses of present church life is that we give money freely to activities that ought not to have it. We don’t exercise discernment. There are some people that because of their attitude and situation, can’t be helped at the moment. I think of that story of the prodigal son, when that boy was down there in the far country. I think the father in some way knew where that boy was and what he was doing, but he never offered to help him. He couldn’t. He let him go into the far country because for that moment there was nothing else he could do. He couldn’t help the boy until he came back, and when he did the help was available to him.

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Father, you are the One of whom it is said, God is love. More and more, may your love come to define me and all my actions.

Life Application
Are our lives as Christ’s disciples motivated and informed by His quality of love? Do we seek wisdom and insight from the Holy Spirit in study of the Word and in prayer?

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