It’s very rare that anyone ever decides to abandon the truth. What happens much more often is that people wander. It happens gradually. It happens when you do not have any particular goal. You lose your moorings and you drift.
You don’t want to be that person. So, you need to be alert to the danger. You may know someone who is wandering, and God may use you to bring a wanderer back and help them get rooted in the truth.
Look for the Warning Signs
There are four warning signs that a person is in danger of wandering away from the truth. These questions will help you to see the signs:
1. Am I always looking for something new?
[They] devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. (1 Timothy 1:4)
If that’s true of you, you are in danger of wandering. That’s what the myths and endless genealogies were — something new. People who are deeply rooted in Christ are satisfied in him. If you were deeply rooted, you would have found contentment in him — as millions of people have.
2. Do I like to talk while avoiding action?
They have turned to meaningless talk. (1 Timothy 1:6)
These folks go on and on about how we should do this and how we ought to be doing that, but as it turns out, their pious talk masks an unholy life. If you see the Bible as a book of ideas to be discussed rather than truth to be obeyed, you are just the kind of person who wanders from the truth.
3. Do I want to teach more than I want to learn?
They want to be teachers. (1 Timothy 1:7)
These folks want a position in the church. They want to be teachers more than they want to learn. If you love to teach, but you do not love to learn, you are in danger of wandering away from the truth.
4. Does my confidence exceed my knowledge?
They want to be teachers of the law but they do not know what they are talking about. (1 Timothy 1:7)
These men are supremely confident, big voices that carry a lot of weight, but Paul says they do not know what they are talking about. I’ve seen this many times.
A man who has only a shallow root in the truth reads a book or hears a talk and gets excited about it. Suddenly he feels, with that little bit of knowledge, that he knows more than his teachers. He knows what the church needs, what it should be doing.
He feels he should be given a platform for what he has discovered. But when people don’t buy his discovery, he becomes dogmatic, angry and belligerent. He feels that he’s the only one who really sees the truth. What he doesn’t see is that he is wandering away from the truth.
How to Return from Your Wandering
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, some have wandered away from these… (1 Timothy 1:5-6)
How can we stay rooted in truth and keep growing in love? Where does love come from? How does love grow? How can you become a loving person, and not a divisive person at work in your home and in the church?
a. Love comes from a pure heart.
The word “pure” means undivided. James says “the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Ask God to give you a pure heart. “Set your heart on things above where Christ is seated” (Colossians 3:1). Ask God to give you a stronger faith in Christ and a deeper love for Christ, a firmer hope in Christ. Then you will be able to love. Love comes from a pure heart.
b. Love comes from a good conscience.
A good conscience is one that’s at rest with God. Is there a sin that you have allowed to remain in your life? Your conscience is not at rest. You are fighting all the time. It’s making you an angry person, a divisive person. It’s the root of your complaining spirit.
Can you see what a blessing it would be for you to come clean with Christ today? To lay what you have been carrying at the feet of Jesus, who died for you? To be washed and to receive a clean conscience? Then you would be able to love! Love comes from a good conscience.
c. Love comes from a sincere faith.
Sincere faith means that you really trust Christ. You don’t just talk about trusting him. You trust him! You trust him, whatever is happening in your life. You trust him when you lose a job; you trust him when you find a job. You trust him at the wedding, and you trust him at the funeral. You trust Christ!
“The trials of your life prove that your faith is genuine” (1 Peter 1:7). Do you remember what Peter says next? “Though you have not seen him you love him.” Love comes from a sincere faith.
All These Come from Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ can give you a pure heart, a clean conscience and a sincere faith. That’s why he died, and that is why he is alive!
If you receive these gifts today you will be able to love! You will be able to love your wife. You will be able to love your children and your parents. You will be able to love your enemies, and you will have love for the church. Most of all you will love the Lord Jesus Christ who loved you and gave himself for you.
That’s the transforming power of the gospel. Lord, make us a church that is increasingly rooted in truth and growing in love for the praise and glory of Jesus Christ — till he comes again. Amen.