As I read through I Timothy 1 today, I was drawn to the fifth verse - "but the goal of our instruction is love". I tend to be a goal-oriented person, especially when it come to disciple-making, so any time I'm reading Scripture, I notice phrases like "our goal is" or "in order to" or "so that". These phrases encourage me to understand not only why I'm doing what Scripture says, but also what I'm trying to accomplish. What handy reminders!
God clearly defines the goal of our instruction in this verse, and that goal is LOVE! Maybe this isn't surprising, but it helps to know that Timothy was dealing with some pretty difficult people amidst pretty difficult circumstances when Paul wrote these instructions to him. Timothy wasn't merely trying to share the Good News for the first time with some listening friends. He was attempting to correct those in opposition to the ministry whom Paul describes as "blasphemers" (vs 20) and those who "have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith" (vs 19). Making disciples can be tough, especially in the face of opposition. However, in these circumstances, it helps to remember what the goal of our instruction is.
Not being right.
Not proving the point.
Not having the last word.