1 Timothy 1:5 “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Love is not found in works. Love is not found in words. Love is not found in any outward action or appearance. Love is not found in laws, rules, regulations, and the like. All such things can surely be completed without a pure heart, good conscience, or sincere faith.
1 Corinthians 13 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
You see, all of the actions from 1 Corinthians 13 give the appearance of love, but they are not love. Though faith, works, words, and other outward actions and appearances may be evidence of love, they are neither love nor proof that love resides within the actor. There would be no purpose of 1 Corinthians 13 if speaking in tongues, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, charity, and sacrifice were all words for love.
Love comes from (originates in, manifests out of) a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith.
Now, God is love. Our primary commandment is to love the lord our God above all else. Well, if God is love and we are to love Him above all else, we must first come to know Him. To know Him is to know love. So, to put God first in our lives must then necessarily be the same thing as putting love first in our lives.
As I’ve written previously, I believe that to love is to prioritize.
Wait, didn’t I just write that God is love?
Yes, and I hold to both statements: (1) God is love; and (2) to love is to prioritize.
Since God is the Creator and the One who sustains, and since God was, is, and always will be, He must prioritize Himself above all else (or else He’d cease to be God, and we would simply cease to be). To know Him is to love Him or else to love death.
Okay, back to the nature of love (that is, the love that God is). Love comes from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith.
How do we reconcile these three realms: (1) God is love, (2) to love is to prioritize, and (3) love comes from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith? For example, how can I say God is love if I also say that the love of money is the root of all evil? If God is love, how can love be applied to something evil?
Let’s look again at love being synonymous with priority. By placing one thing higher than another thing, you are loving that first thing more than the second. Well, what was necessary in order for that distinction to be made? Choice. What’s necessary that choice can exist? Free will.
Aha, in the beginning God created and it was good. Evil came out of the corrosion of good. Here we go. Now we’re getting somewhere (I often write these things with half an idea in the hopes that some sense comes out of it).
Love comes from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith.
What happens when any of those three things (heart, conscience, and faith) begin to corrode? If those are the things upon which the love that God is comes from, when those things are corroded, so is the outworking of them (love).
It is still love that we are acting from, but it is a corroded love. It is a lesser love. It is still love.
When God made man, it was good. When man got sick, did he cease to be man? No; sickness is corrosion.
God is love. Love comes from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith. To love is to prioritize.
If to love is to prioritize, to love is to choose. If to choose is freedom, love is freedom. If to live is freedom, love is life. To live is to love. To live perfectly is to live as Christ. To love perfectly is to live as Christ. To live as Christ is to put God first. To put God first is to prioritize Him above all else. To prioritize Him above all else is to love Him above all else.