In the Midst of Conflict
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:5
I’m a big fan of action movies and shows, from Saving Private Ryan to Bourne Identity to “the hour of power” with Jack Bauer. Usually in these types of movies the main character has an objective that needs to be done and for any goal to be exciting there needs to be conflict, a lot of conflict! Without conflict an adventure waters down to nothing more than a task. Imagine someone is taken hostage and you create a specialize team to rescue the person from the midst of extreme danger. Take away the conflict and all you are doing is picking someone up with a group of friends.
Many times I open my bible, read a few chapters or verses, find an awesome “gem” or “good advice”, thank the Lord and I go on with my day. For some reason at times my mind just bypasses the details, or conflict, for only the parts that benefit me at the specific time. Its like flying over Los Angeles and just spotting the key landmarks, oh there’s disneyland or check out the hollywood sign, with no care of who or what the culture of the city is. But when you transition your focus from a bird’s eye view to a more personal view you begin to see the faces of the people, what life looks like, the joys, the pains, the conflicts and resolutions.
As I began to read the first book of Timothy I came in looking for parts that speak about what the character qualifications of a pastor look like. I’ve heard tons of messages about this book and how Paul is equipping Timothy as a young leader. And I’ve read through this book a few times also looking for the “good advice” because I too am a young leader. With this in mind I found this great verse, ““The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:5″. Its an awesome verse that deals with love, pure heart, good conscience, sincere faith and it sounds so valentines like, maybe a great verse for a relationship series or leading out of love talk? But as I zoom in to take a look at the context I see the conflict that this verse is birthed in and it would do Paul injustice to take it out of its true context.
Paul uses one sentence for an introduction, “Hi I’m Paul sent by God and this is for you Timothy”, and then dives right into the midst of conflict! It seems there are people coming in teaching things that contradict what Paul has taught and it’s bring confusion, arguments, and just random vain discussions. Paul see’s this as not just something to ride out but something that needs to be attacked. The language that is being used in this letter to Timothy is one that would be used in the military. One commentary puts it like this, “Timothy, you are not only a pastor of the church in a difficult city. You are also a Christian soldier under orders from the King. Now pass these orders along to the soldiers in your church!” The reason why Paul comes at it with so much force is because he understands the importance of sound doctrine. Sound doctrine is the key pillars to our faith because it gives us an understanding of what we believe. To understand who Jesus is, to know what he did on the cross, and what our role is as believers. To have a weak understanding of any of these pillars our faith can be unstable against any storm.
So Paul charges Timothy to make sure these false teachings are squashed and to bring understanding to the true teachings. He does this not simply to keep believers in line, or to do it as competition against the other teachers but, as he clearly states in verse 5, the aim of our charge is love! Its for the love of the people. That as leaders there is a love that comes from our heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. It is not to gain more believers, it is not to have believers rally to be an end to a means, but it is truly out of a pure, good, sincere love.
If we were to take out the conflict from this book all we would see is an older professor teaching a young professor how to teach his new students doctrine. But when we see scripture in the midst of conflict we see an experience veteran passionately urging his predecessor, that is like a son to him, to fight for this church and protect them because of the true love he has for these people!
I wonder what it will begin to look like if we embrace being in the midst conflict in our lives. What will we begin to see?