Joy in Understanding


Prayer: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You.  Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, Lord.  They rejoice in Your name all day long; they celebrate Your righteousness (Psalm 89:14-16).

Lord God, we know that You are a holy, righteous, and just God.  We are not.  We seek to learn these traits from You.  We want to lead a life that is pleasing to You, and joyous for us.  We know that Joy is a product of Your love and we seek that ultimate expression for ourselves.  Teach us Your righteousness.  Amen.

Main Scripture: Read Philippians 1:11.

(Being) filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God(Philippians 1:11).

Associated Scriptures:



Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding (Proverbs 4:1).

Correlative Quotes:

If sin is the manifestation of our unrighteousness and we can be saved only through a righteousness not our own—the righteousness of Christ—then the ultimate sin is self-righteousness. Jesus did not reject sinners who came to Him for mercy and salvation; He rejected those who were too righteous (in their own eyes) to need grace. No one is too lost to save; there are only those too good to save.[1] – Bob Deffinbaugh

There is the kind of righteousness that man foolishly thinks he can produce in the energy of his own flesh. Somehow if he is good enough, then he can gain the approval of God.[2]  Dr.  Wayne A. Barber


Verses 9 and 10 of Philippians 1 teach us that the lessons of Christ produce two insights that are available to the believer. 

1. Correct Knowledge.  We must rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).  The Word gives us a window into the mind of God.  The Spirit provides a schoolmaster to teach us how to grow spiritually.  We must now use that tool to read God’s word and to develop a working knowledge of the One who wrote it.

2. Discernment or Insight.  Discernment involves the correct spiritual interpretation and understanding of God’s word and its directions.  For believers, it involves trying to correctly understand the mind of God through His truth, the Bible.

Using these two tools, we begin to determine the true and perfect will of God for our lives.  It is only then that we will begin to experience a life of fulfillment and joy.  Discernment and acuteness of judgment are the byproducts of learning and understanding God’s word.  These two, correct knowledge and discernment, are closely linked.  We must first read God’s Word cover to cover, to build a basis for the knowledge of His word itself.  As we are doing so, we should begin asking the Spirit to help us by giving us understanding. 

Knowing God’s Word, the Bible, is very important.  Understanding the Word and its implication for our lives are essential to living a Spirit-filled and blessed life.

The depth and knowledge and insight become paramount to the Christian walk.  Philippians 1:9-10 states: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.”  Correct knowledge and discernment produce spiritual stability and a walk of spiritual sincerity (1 John 1:7).  Verse 11, then, continues this thought by saying, spiritual stability encourages us to live for God.  Romans 6:18 explains this phenomenon by saying: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”  Because we are freed from sin and death, we are now free to be righteous and to practice righteousness.

Our ability to practice righteousness then is the gateway to a life of joy.  Fulfilling the work or our Savior multiplies the joy that comes to us through salvation.  Not only is the gate opened to joy but we are “filled” with it now that we are: “filled with the Spirit of righteousness,” the Holy Spirit (vs. 11). 

The word “filled” in verse 11, means that God continually fills us with the fruits of righteousness.  The joy that comes from living a life of righteousness continues to grow and become stronger as we walk continuously with Jesus.

Colossians 1:9 says this: “Be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”  Paul’s desire for the Colossians was to know God’s will.  By knowing His will, they would have the wisdom and spiritual knowledge to make Godly decisions in their lives.  We are no different today. 

The fruits of righteousness that the Holy Spirit produces in us are the steppingstones that lead us to a righteous life in Christ.  The pathway is lined with the fruits of the Spirit.  The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-25, (NKJV): But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

We are the tools or instruments of righteousness on this earth.  This righteousness that we are given is from Jesus.  It is not our work, or it would be called self-righteousness.  Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV) says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Even though we are filled with the spirit of righteousness at the point of our salvation, correctly interpreting His word and walking in God’s knowledge takes prayer and application.  James 1:5 (NKJV) explains this and gives us the path to a righteous life when he writes: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Summary Statement:

We cannot experience the knowledge of God and its joy without being in fellowship with God.  We accomplish that ongoing relationship by living in His Spirit and growing in His knowledge. 

Joy is a gift from God that comes through salvation.  It continues as a result of spiritual growth.  Spiritual growth is obtained through the knowledge and depth of insight that is achieved by discernment.  Both tools are ignited and directed by the Spirit of God that lives in us.  A deeper understanding of God brings us continued joy.  Spiritual growth, which produces joy, begins with the knowledge of God.  The knowledge of God leads to the understanding and wisdom of God.  These two encourage us to apply God’s truths to our lives.  The application produces growth.

Lessons within the Lesson:

What is the source of knowledge and spiritual discernment?

Discuss the link between knowledge and spiritual discernment?

How do we receive the fruits of the Spirit?  Why is it important?

What are the benefits of having a deeper relationship with God?

[1] Bob Diffenbaugh, The Righteousness of God, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, copyright 2015, /seriespage/6-righteousness-god.

[2] Dr. Wayne A. Baker, Righteousness is a Precious Possession, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, preceptaustin .org/ romans_101-10.htm.