“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…” (Colossians 1:9) Here, as in Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon, Paul prays that believers would receive the knowledge of God. “Knowledge” refers to the personal relationship we have with Christ. This is not something that accumulates as random pieces of information; it is something which “fills” our lives. Knowing information may have no effect on our lives at all, but knowing Christ changes everything.
This knowledge is supplemented with “wisdom” and “understanding”, or “insight”. “Wisdom” refers to an accurate understanding of life and the world around us which comes from God’s Word. “Insight” carries the idea of the strategic ability to apply that wisdom. When we come to know Christ, we are delivered out of ignorance and into relationship with Christ. This is real knowledge. With this knowledge comes a correct perception of life through the Scriptures, and with that in turn comes the ability, by the power of the Spirit, to apply that understanding practically. Without the knowledge of God through Christ, our knowledge and wisdom will be limited. We will attempt to understand the creation without understanding the Creator.
The world has information, but the church has revelation. The difference between the two is that revelation changes how we live. It does this by changing all our values, so that everything we do comes out of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. We do not think as the world thinks. We do not have the same values as they have. We realize we are in this life to live for Christ and for others, not for ourselves. Why, without an encounter with Jesus Christ, would we want to love others, to put their interests ahead of ours, to forgive those who have wronged us, to live to the highest standards in our finances even when everyone else around us is cheating? We would never live like this on the basis of worldly wisdom, but only on the foundation of our knowledge of Christ.
The wisdom of the world says to stick up for yourself and do a few good works along the way to make yourself feel better and look good. The knowledge of Christ says to lay your life down even for your enemy. The knowledge of Christ is the only way to gain true wisdom and the only way to make your life a true success.