I TIMOTHY 1:5: “Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith.” TLV
OBSERVATION: What is my goal in life? As a follower of Jesus Christ, what am I aiming for? As I look back at my life I can see that the target has changed dramatically. And even though I believe I now have it in focus, I must daily remind myself what is important.
When I was a young believer, called into the ministry, my goal was to know as much about the Bible as I could. I combed the Scriptures, developed my own underlining scheme, and filled my Bible with personal notes and references. I will never forget the time I thought that I had lost my Bible. I felt like the world was going to end. What would I do without all of my notes? It was time to re-evaluate my goal!
When I began to pastor my first church, my goal was to have an answer for every question, and a teaching for every occasion. I would spend hours preparing messages making sure that I had every doctrinal point verified and backed up by Scripture. The only problem was, the minute I thought I had the subject in hand mastered, someone would tell me what I was lacking in my presentation. It was time to re-evaluate my goal!
I then began to focus on Scripture memorization. Rest assured, none of the above disciplines, including this one are bad within themselves. The issue is when they become the goal and not simply a tool in achieving our goal. With Scriptures memorized I used to do a version of the “Bible Answer Man” with our youth. I enjoyed this time of fielding even their wildest questions, until I realized that it was more for my pride than their edification. It was time to re-evaluate my goal!
During a period when I was out of pastoral ministry, I went through a time of wilderness wandering. I wondered if the Lord would ever open up another door and opportunity for me to serve in the ministry. It was then that I heard the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit in my heart – “Son, will you seek Me even if you never serve again in the ministry?” I was so busy seeking ministry opportunities I had failed to cultivate my personal devotional life with the Lord. Once again, it was time to re-evaluate my goal!
Since that day I have laid all these other goals on the shelf and exchanged them for the goals outlined in this simple instruction that a wise Apostle Paul gave to a young pastor named Timothy.
- “Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith.”
I realized that this was not a journey to find a group of character qualities. Rather this was a life’s journey in knowing God. It is the invitation to a lifelong adventure of sanctification, becoming more like Jesus. And the focus is on the internals, not the externals. It is not what we are doing, it is what we are becoming. Our goal is, and always should be, to become like Jesus Christ in love, a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. Paul writes to the Romans,
- “Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30 TLV
My daily time of devotional reading, worship, meditation, prayer, and journaling (L.I.F.E.) is not about expanding my Bible knowledge, it is about expanding my heart. Each year I read a new version of the Bible without any notes or annotations. I come to God’s Word with an open heart each day and ask Him to speak to me what He is saying for the day. I am learning more about the Lord, and more about myself every day. I have not arrived, but I am enjoying the journey so much more.
Lord, thank you for calling me to become conformed into the image of Jesus Christ my Lord. Holy Spirit, lead, guide, teach, and transform my heart each day so that I truly can grow in love from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.
In Jesus Name!