Saturday, December 8
The goal is love
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1-4
1 Timothy 1:4-6 These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith. 5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion.
Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to lead the church, and to “instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies.” Evidently, there were people in the Ephesian church who were being drawn away from the gospel to false doctrine, myths, endless genealogies, empty speculations, and fruitless discussions.
In contrast to these, the goal of the gospel is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.
The goal is love—love for God and people. I see people who, like these in Ephesus, get sidetracked by empty speculations and fruitless discussions. They become divisive, not loving. It is one thing to engage in fruitful discussion about important subjects; such dialogue should leave us more committed to one another. It must result in love—even when we disagree. If it doesn’t, it becomes fruitless discussion that pushes us apart, and misses the goal. The goal is love. I enjoy a spirited discussion as much as anyone. But if it doesn’t lead to love, we’ve missed the point!
This love comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. If you want to focus on something, focus on these! And these come from Jesus. He is the one who purifies my heart, who cleanses my conscience and is both the object and source of my sincere faith.
So rather than being a member of the doctrine police (sound doctrine is important but not the goal) or the behavioral police (right behavior is important but not the goal), I should pursue Jesus and ask him to give me a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith so that I love Him and others. That’s the goal.
Prayer: Lord, the goal is love. Help me to always keep that in mind as I engage in lively discussion and debate with others.