1 Timothy 1:5
'The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.'
Paul is saying here, that the aim, the goal of our purpose as children of God is..... LOVE, no new news there. However what struck me is that Paul explains this love as a set of components. It's like a compound. Unless you have all the elements necessary then you won't have the overall compound that is the love Paul is talking about. Paul demonstrates that Love is the compound made up of three elements; A pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. All of these elements are essential to love, it's not true love unless you have all three.
So, let's look at these elements.
A pure heart
A heart can only be pure if it's cleaned up from all the bad stuff. If there's; unforgiveness, hate, lust, any kind of ungodly desire, then the heart is not pure. Surely no-one can have a pure heart then? We all have stuff within our hearts which we are not proud of, or thoughts that we aren't happy about but we don't seem to be able to help it.
That's why Jesus came.
He came and died, then rose again in order for us to be cleaned up. He purifies our hearts if we believe and trust in him. Jesus is the greatest demonstration for us of a pure heart. He never did any wrong, He wasn't corrupted by sin and all his motives were good. If you are conscious that your heart isn't pure, ask Jesus to take away the thoughts, the deeds, the desires and purify your heart. He has died for those things so that you too can be set free and have a pure heart.
A good conscience.
Oh my, it seems to get harder! A good conscience. We often have little battles in our minds; what's the right thing to do, the easiest thing, the nicest thing (for others or us), what do I actually want to do.
It's like a constant stream of pondering and decision making. It can be quite tiring.
To have a good conscience is knowing that the decisions we make are the right ones. Not feeling guilty - now that wouldn't that be freedom! Not feeling ashamed of current or past mistakes or decisions, but having a clean slate. Starting afresh. This can be true for you and I.
If we turn to God, admit that we mess up, and accept Jesus died for us, then we can replace our confused conscience with a good one. The old mind is renewed.
The Bible says, when we follow Jesus we are given, 'the mind of Christ' (1 Corinthians 2:16). I think most of us will agree that Christ (Jesus) was a pretty good guy, and made good decisions, so if we have his mind we will have the same ability. I'm not saying that the internal discussions that are within ourselves will stop, but we will have more of a sense of what we should do - it's still up to us to decide to do it though!
Now this is the bit that's left up to us. This is our responsibility. God sorts out the other bits when we repent and believe in him. This part is our duty. Sincere faith.
Just saying we believe in God and Jesus is not enough. Do you live like you know it? Has your life changed from before you discovered the truth about who God is?
Is your faith displayed? Do you practice what you preach? Do you walk in the ways God guides you to go? Or are you harbouring secret sin or avoiding going to church or ignoring what you know is right to do?
Sincere faith knows what is right, and does it.
Sincere faith is not passive, it is active.
Unless your faith is sincere, grounded, wholehearted, then what kind of faith is it?
The aim of our charge is love...
Do you have all the elements necessary to demonstrate God's love through your life?