The Goal of Our Instruction is Love!
In a race, a runner aims for the finish line. That’s the goal.
In a tournament, an archer aims for the bull’s eye. That’s the goal.
In the Christian life, a believer aims for love. That’s the goal.
Can you imagine what would happen if a runner did not realize, in order to win the race, that there was a finish line needing to be crossed before the other runners? How about if an archer shot an arrow and had no knowledge that there was a bull’s eye to shoot for? What about a Christian who does not realize love is the goal of all that we say and do?
In his first letter to Timothy the apostle Paul wrote, "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions" (Ch 1:5-7).
According to this section of Scripture, if we forget love is the goal, then we will get caught up in "fruitless discussion." I would define fruitless discussion as spiritual sounding talk having no real value of life in it because the goal of love has been ignored.
Paul says people who get involved in this misdirected sort of talk "do not understand...what they are saying." Why is this? It is because if we discount God’s love then we have already erred. We have already made a decision that whatever we are choosing to discuss is more important. And we don’t even know what we’re talking about.
I’ve been reading the Bible from cover to cover for nearly three decades and love has always been the goal I have aimed for. It is deeply saddening for me to realize, at the start of this new millennium, that the Christian Church has seemingly, for the most part, lost its way on this all important issue of love.
Even though Paul said "the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13) and even though Jesus said the greatest commandment is love (Mark 12:30) and even though John wrote "God is love" (1 John 4:8) we now have an entire generation of Christians who apparently would rather believe in things, issues and experiences instead of aiming, as obedient children, for the love of God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
How can such a terrible climate of spiritual sickness be healed?
If each of us would simply remind ourselves it is because "God so loved the world" (John 3:16) that we are even Christians in the first place, and if we would humble our hearts, cleanse ourselves of all our so-called "spiritual knowledge" and step into the yoke of our humble Savior (Matt. 11:29) so we might learn of the One Who is love, then we would be well on our way to reestablishing Jesus Christ as the true and actual Lord of our Christian life.
Remember, Paul also wrote, "Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies" (1 Cor. 8:1).
How can this world turn to Jesus Christ if we are not lifting Him up high above all else, celebrating His love and proclaiming this "Good news of a great joy...for all the people" (Luke 2:10)?
How can the body of Jesus Christ ever have any true meaningful oneness if we have left our first love (Rev. 2:4)?
How can we, as individual believers, ever hope to fully realize the "abundant life" (John 10:10) within ourselves if we have let go of the essence of our Savior in order to dutifully pursue teachings, issues and experiences because others expect it of us or because we never really gave God a chance to grow us up in the knowledge of Himself, Who is love?
The answer, I believe is straightforward. We cannot accomplish the goal of love unless we steadfastly aim for the goal of love.
If love is our goal, then we will joyfully give up all other discussions, realizing they are all ultimately fruitless and can only lead to a spiritual blindness of arrogance. We don’t need a new experience. Instead we need to gratefully acknowledge and fully embrace the true life-changing experience of receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior, our Way, our Truth, and our Life (John 14:6).
Let us affirm this day, anew and afresh, that God is our all in all. He is everything to us. He is the Light this world needs to see. He is the healing the body of Christ needs to receive. And He is the goal we need to aim for.
If we will follow this simple and profound act of contrition before our Lord Jesus Christ, then we will focus on the prize of the upward call (Phil. 3:14) and at the end of our lives we will have reached our goal, crossing the finish line of love with purpose, joy and ultimate fulfillment in God.
"And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ." (Col. 1:28).