[3] As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, [4] nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. [5] The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. [6] Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, [7] desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (ESV)

1 Timothy 1:3–7 ESV Read More

Many times we learn by what we see AND by what we are told. Paul is training Timothy how to lead the church while training the church to go on without Timothy someday. So Paul trains Timothy to go on without Paul and Timothy trains the church to go on without Timothy. While the issues change, the point remains the same. The aim of our charge is love that issues from:

• a pure heart and

• a good conscience and

• a sincere faith.

Whether it is over genealogies, spiritual gifts, or guitar volume, all of our decisions should be rooted in a love for Jesus and one another that is pure, helps us all to have a clean conscience and grows us in sincere, honest faith.

To really dive into what a sincere faith is, look at it’s opposite: fake faith. If we are just following Jesus by rugged self-discipline that hides what is going on inside our heads, we aren’t being sincere. We can’t sympathize with others when the struggle or show compassion when others are weak. We can’t ask questions and dive into the wonders that we have for fear of looking faithless.

But sincere faith is honest. It shows weakness that is held up and strengthened by the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit. It shows wonder that asks God questions to His face with the hope of getting answers and growing in a deeper relationship with Him. Sincere faith shows compassion because weakness, struggle, hurt, and suffering are our shared experience, whether we admit it or not, and we are all looking for God in the middle of it.

Whenever an issue comes up, trim the fat down to the pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith in a God who is currently working in us. That is the true easy way out that brings God glory. It’s how Paul taught Timothy to solve problems, and the way Timothy worked them out in the early church.

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