These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. 1 Timothy 1:4 (NIV)
There are many people who believe in Jesus. But their lives have never been gripped by a passion for the gospel. They are bored with their faith, and they are looking for something else to get excited about.
Notice the effect: “These promote controversies” (1:4). Here is what causes strife and division in churches: A few people have a particular passion. They want the whole church to embrace their passion. They want the church to be about what they are about. This always leads to division.
If your passion is not Jesus, if He is not at the center of your life, you will, in all likelihood, become a divisive person in the church. Paul says, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).
Paul is warning us about making the church about ourselves. The church does not exist to advance our own cause or ministry or passion. The church is for Christ, for the gospel. And Paul is saying, “Timothy, don’t let anyone move the church away from that!”
Why is this so important? “The goal of this command is love” (1 Tim. 1:5). “This command” refers to Paul’s command to stop people from teaching false doctrines, myths, and endless genealogies. In other words, the only way you can have real unity among God’s people is by keeping Jesus Christ and His gospel at the center. As soon as anything else takes center stage, you have controversy and division.
Have you become a divisive person in the church? Is Jesus at the center of your life, or have you become a driver for some other cause, ministry, or passion?