Above all else, Christians should be defined by agape love, the sacrificial, unselfish love of Jesus. Yet, I find many Christians are bogged down with selfish ambition, pride, dogmatism, unawareness, bitterness, jealousy, disorder, and immoral thoughts. As a result, there is no difference between our behavior than those who are in the world. God wants us to be His light “loving others as He loved us” (John 13:34). How can we do this?
1 Timothy 1:5 tell us, “The ultimate aim of the Christian is to produce the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience and a genuine faith” (JB Phillips NT). Love springs from three things:
A pure heart. If sin lingers in our heart, we are not freed up to love. Only the Holy Spirit can love like Jesus. Our heart must allow Him the freedom to live out the love of Jesus through us. Psalm 24:3&4 exclaims, “Who may ascend onto the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? One who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to deceit, and has not sworn deceitfully.” Matthew 5:8 states, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.” God loves those who have a pure heart enabling them to love like Jesus.
A good conscious. Paul the Apostle when testifying before the Jewish High Priest and religious leaders “looked earnestly at the council, and said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). He said the same thing to Felix the Governor, “This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16). Why could Paul live the dynamic life and love others the way that he did? Once your conscience is free from guilt and wrongdoings, there is power to love. Live without hypocrisy, liberated to be an expression of His love!
A sincere faith. In his 2nd letter to Timothy, Paul reminded Timothy of the sincere faith and dynamic lives of his grandmother and mother, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” Sincere means “free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings.” Some synonyms of “sincere” are heartfelt, wholehearted, honest, genuine, real, true, earnest, fervent, cordial, and devout. Do people say that about your faith? More importantly, as you look inside your heart in full transparency, can you say that about yourself?
Hebrews 10:22 sums up the above powerfully, “Let’s approach God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” God enjoys spending time with people who come to him with a sincere faith, a good conscience, and a pure heart. When they do, He frees them up to love.