…the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
– 1 Timothy 1:5 NASB
Every so often when you’re reading the Bible, especially in the New Testament, you come across a statement that serves as a good summary of one or more themes that the Bible teaches. This statement from Paul’s first letter to Timothy is just such a statement.
Of course, the statement omits any explicit references to Jesus Christ. Therefore, if taken out of context, someone might infer that we can achieve these sorts of things – pure heart, good conscience, sincere faith – just by teaching them to each other. The reality, however, is that we cannot achieve true righteousness with adages, proverbs, and wise sayings – even when they’re from the Bible. These things will only make a lasting difference in our lives if received in a context of relationship with the living God – Jesus Christ Himself.
Although Paul wrote the words above to Timothy, they make sense just as well if considered as coming from Jesus…or from all the apostles on behalf of Jesus. “Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15)…so that they could be trained to “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
We can understand this goal even better when we recall that Jesus practiced what He preached. Therefore, He modeled everything He asked of us. Thus Jesus loved from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Let us consider for a moment that when Jesus loved – which is to say “when Jesus lived” – He offended many people. Yes, He was deeply loved and revered, but He was also deeply despised and berated. He was a polarizing figure. Many people today would not recognize His motive of love because they are so easily offended.
Many people today wear their feelings on their sleeves. Political correctness reigns and others must say the right things in the right way at the right time or else any claim they have to righteousness must be forfeited. The social media outrage machine is set to go off at the slightest provocation. Jesus would have set it off every day…because – simply put – He spoke the truth. That takes true love.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, You loved us enough to tell us the truth. And Your words hold true even until today. Let us likewise love others enough to tell the truth…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.