“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 NAS

The aim of Christian teaching isn’t that we get an A+ for theology. The aim isn’t that we acquire a great deal of knowledge about insignificant details in the Bible like the genealogies (verse 4). The aim is that we become more loving. Jesus didn’t say that all men will know we are Christians by our theology, our doctrines, or our preaching but rather people will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).

The test of our maturity as Christians isn’t on the basis of age, intelligence, or how long we have been a Christian. Our maturity isn’t measured by how much of the Bible we know, or how much we pray, even though these are important disciplines. But the acid test is how much do we love? Are we growing in this area? Are we moving towards the goal of love?

So how do we become more loving? “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The more we understand how much God loves us, the more we will be able to love others. Paul knew how important this was and prayed that we would have the power to comprehend it. He wrote this, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

As we open our lives to his love and allow ourselves to be loved, then we will find our love for God growing and flowing on to others.