As I attend conferences on the family, I continue to be with teachers presenting the virtues of wisdom. Teaching wisdom is attractive to me because I do not want to my children to make the same foolish mistakes I made. But in this reemphasis on wisdom, let us not overlook a complementary trait that is just as, if not more, important. The trait I am talking about is love for the Lord.

In thinking things through, we can see that these two are not the same. There are many Christians who have a passionate relationship with the Lord but who do not direct their lives according to wisdom Similarly there are wise followers of Jesus who have lost any real passion or love for him.

This can be exemplified in the lives of David and Solomon. David is described by God as a man after God’s own heart. Because of this heart, God establishes the eternal Davidic covenant with him. And yet David made some foolish mistakes when it came to child rearing. Solomon, on the other hand, is the living example of wisdom. In fact, fathers are encouraged to teach the same material to their sons that Solomon actually compiled. None has lived who was wiser than Solomon. And yet, Solomon’s reign ended poorly when his wives led his heart astray. Clearly love and wisdom are complementary but different.

Paul puts these two together when he tells the Philippians, “This is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may discern what is best…” Philippians 1:9-10. Here is a prayer for abounding and abounding and abounding love. But it is not a naive love. It is a knowledgable and discerning love. There are both qualities together.

What a great prayer for a father for his children. May their love for the Lord and for other abound more and more. Like David, may they be men and women after God’s own heart. And may that love not be naive, but may it be filled with wisdom, and knowledge and perception and discernment so that in every situation they may be able to choose the best.