“Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
Paul wrote to his “true child in the faith” (Timothy) after receiving word of his struggles in Ephesus. He left Timothy in Ephesus to provide guidance, instruction, and correction to those who were teaching divergent doctrines and speculate myths and endless genealogies, all of which, apparently, was part of a power struggle in the church intended to provide a basis for authority for these divergent teachers.
Looking at what Timothy was up against, Paul reminded him that the goal of his instruction to the Ephesians was to produce God’s kind of love in them. In a power struggle, love often gets sent to the corner for a “time out.” It is interesting that Paul would focus on the goal of love, in light of the message against the church at Ephesus from Jesus in Revelation some 30 years later. Jesus said to them, “You have lost the love you had at first.” (Rev. 2:4) The goal is God’s kind of love.
Reaching this goal requires three personal qualities in the one who instructs others about it: 1) a pure heart, 2) a good conscience, and 3) a sincere faith. A pure heart springs from a deeply intimate relationship and communion with our Lord. A good conscience results from a personal decision of the mind to seek and do what is good and right. It is borne of integrity. A sincere faith grows from a genuine desire to know and walk with God in a relationship of trust. That is the fertile soil that lets love put down deep roots so it can grow into genuine strength.
Today, let God’s kind of love be the goal of your influence in the lives of others.
Lord, You have loved us with a limitless love, and we ask that You enable us to communicate that same kind of love to others throughout this day. Amen.