Getting Off Track
1Tim. 1:5 But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.
1Tim. 1:6 Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk,
1Tim. 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.
When we get our eyes off of the goal, then we will deviate from God’s intention for us. There were those who were a part of the church in Ephesus who wanted to be valued as teachers of the Law. However, the aim should never be the knowledge that we can gain, the aim should always be Jesus for it is only when we participate in him that we are filled with love. Love is the overflow of “a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.”
The word “deviated” means that the trajectory has changed, or that someone has gotten off track. In the beginning they were headed in the right direction, with the right goal in mind but somehow there were distractions that came into the picture. Jesus is no longer the goal, but the distractions along the way have kept us from the goal and so we turn to “meaningless talk.” Maybe it’s the topic of the day, or the latest internet craze, or what is tickling the ears of those in Christianity, but anything that takes ours eyes off of the goal of being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ is meaningless.
Therefore Christians (or those who call themselves Christians) who do not have a personal, transformational experience with Jesus Christ do not “understand either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.” Head knowledge is never enough — heart knowledge will take you a long way. Head knowledge alone can get you off track — head knowledge that is fixed on the goal with heart knowledge can be powerful in the kingdom.
It doesn’t matter how smart or intellectual we may be, all of that must be placed in submission before Jesus Christ. This means humility before him daily as we seek to be his reflection and image in the world. Yes, there are times that we will fail but it doesn’t mean that we give up. Instead, we engage another day in a deeply personal relationship with the one who wants to give us a pure heart that leads to a good conscience and to true and sincere faith. Only when these are present can one become a true teacher of the law. When these are not present the law becomes void because Jesus’ presence made the law a relational law — one valid only in the presence of Christ.
It’s easy to get off track. We can study, we can argue and we can learn — but without Jesus, it’s worthless. Jesus is coming! Advent is upon us. May we fix our eyes on the goal so that we do not get off track. Then, may everything that comes out of us simply be the overflow of a deeply personal and transformational relationship with the one who came in the flesh to create the path that sets us free.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixed on you today. Amen.