Unused knowledge is buried power!

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Battle Plans - living whole & healthy
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Knowledge without application is useless!

For a long time, I’d considered the use of the words ‘wisdom’, ‘understanding’ and ‘knowledge’ as interchangeable. However recently, the more I’ve read different scriptures containing these words and researched original definitions for clarity, I’ve realized that:

  1. They do have very distinct differences in meaning and intent
  2. There is a reason why they are often written together
  3. Knowledge without application is like ‘the morning without coffee’… it doesn’t work!
  4. Unused knowledge is buried power!

Knowledge is information. It is the beginning… the foundation to all we do

Understanding is insight. It is the ability to know how to properly use what we’ve learned (gained knowledge)

Wisdom is application. It is the good judgment to apply the understanding we’ve learned to our own life in order to produce a positive outcome

Just learning and never applying is a big waste of time! Have you ever met someone who is really ‘book smart’, but not very ‘street-smart’? The ‘book smart’ person has gained lots of knowledge, but hasn’t learned or made the decision to apply it to their lives in a positive manner.  On the contrary, someone who is ‘street smart’ is a person who has made the decision to intentionally apply what they have learned to their personal life… or in other words… the ‘streets’.

We can ‘puff’ ourselves up with lots of knowledge, but it will do us little good if we don’t take it to the next level and gain insight (understanding) on how to properly use what we’ve learned.  Then get ‘wise’ and ‘take it personal’; applying it to our own life to better ourselves and those around us.

As an example, the below verses list all three – wisdom, understanding and knowledge as being needed to build a strong, healthy family.  Notice how each one is listed individually, as if each one has a separate role. Here’s how it breaks down and how they work together –

Proverbs 24

3 It takes wisdom (the good-judgment to apply the understanding/what we’ve learned to our lives) to have a good family, and it takes understanding (insight on how to properly use the knowledge) to make it strong. 4 It takes knowledge (information) to fill a home with rare and beautiful treasures. 

These verses actually begin with the end in mind… the vision… goal – a good family.  Verse 3 says that in order to have a good family, we must be wise.  So begs the question, what does it take to be wise?  The rest of verse 3 and 4 explain.

Starting in verse 4… knowledge is the key… the foundation to growing a strong, healthy family.  Knowledge is information.  We can’t do, what we don’t know.  So, if we don’t ‘know’, we need to find out – ask, read, learn.    But, knowledge, left to sit with nowhere to go or be used will just puff us up with pride. 1 Corinthians 8:1 – Knowledge puffs up, but it is love that builds…

Once we’ve gained the knowledge, we must move into understanding – how can the information that I’ve learned be used for something good?  How can I take what I’ve gained and apply it to my family? Understanding is the bridge between knowledge and wisdom.

And lastly is the wisdom part… which often is the most difficult – the application.  As we’ve discussed earlier, knowledge without application is useless. Wisdom is having the good judgment to move forward and apply those things that we know and understand.  Unused knowledge is unused power!

Lastly, as in all things, properly applied wisdom will have good Godly results.  So, however we apply what we have learned to our own situation, it should be done in such a way that is God honoring.  James 3:17 describes how –

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.




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