“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5 ESV).
When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a veterinarian. There was no great reason; I just liked animals.
When I was in junior high school I wanted to be the lead singer for a heavy-metal rock band–probably fueled by a love for music and an identification with angst.
When I made it to high school I wanted to be a physical therapist because I wanted to help people heal.
Two years into college my desires changed again. I wanted to be a preacher. There was no doubt in my mind that God wanted to use me to help people grow their faith.
It’s not uncommon for people to change their minds about the future course of their lives. It is probably more the rule than the exception. But at some point we all need to choose a path and walk it. This is true on a micro level — how we choose to earn our living, and a macro level with who we want to become. And while we can choose to “re-invent” ourselves anywhere along our timeline, we should always be anchored by our faith in Jesus.
But I think we are often confused about what that means. Are we to simply ensure that we are “squared away” when it comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Or are we responsible for more?
We all have different callings. And while you may be able to do the work that God has called me to do, it remains my calling. Likewise, I may be able to do your work, but I can’t fulfill your calling. But there is something that we are all called to do, and we will all give an account of how well we did or didn’t do it.
Jesus responded to a lawyer who was trying to test him about the “great commandment in the law”. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV). The common denominator, of course, is love.
I’ve often heard sin described with an archery metaphor: sin is missing the mark, failing to hit the bulls-eye of holiness. I’ve even used that analogy myself. But I prefer another.
In August of 2017 we had a special eclipse that hadn’t happened in America in nearly a century. As you know, a solar eclipse is dangerous to look at without special, very dark, glasses. The glasses block out all but the very brightest of lights. Love is like those special glasses. It helps us eliminate distractions and sins that pull our shot away from the bulls-eye! Through the lens of love we fulfill the “great commandments.”
That’s what Paul meant in our text for the day. He was addressing Timothy, whom he mentored, about making sure that certain people were teaching only the pure Gospel. Some had been perverting the Gospel through their ignorance and desire to be called teachers.
He laid it out plainly, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Draw your bow and take aim at holiness…but don’t forget your glasses!