“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Although Jesus was not talking here about a life of purity This feels like my journey many days. As pastors we are called to live a life of purity but at every turn there are many wide roads that lead to destruction.
As I think about a life of purity and how that leads to an abundant life I have to ask the question “What does a life of purity look like?”. This may be slightly different for each person but there are many common denominators that can cause us to stumble. A life of purity takes integrity, transparency, right priorities, and an ability to see our weakness and let Jesus lead us. I find that in life we can see these traits come out in different areas in our lives.
Lets look at a few of these:
Marriage: A life of purity will only be possible when we have the ability to have right priorities. This can be seen against a backdrop of marriage. In ministry their are many times when everything else creeps in and our marriage gets put on the back burner. Many pastors just know that their wives will always be there so they put out all the other fires and ignore the one that is burning their house down. Make your spouse a priority. Date your Husband/wife on a regular basis. Setting your marriage as a priority will help you live a life of purity.
Finances: Integrity is crucial in living a life of purity. No where else can the draw be stronger and more cunning than with finances. Money can be a draw and in ministry we can be faced with the ability to use/abuse it on a regular basis. Remember that we are only stewards of Gods blessings. We are not deserved anything and our ability to manage finances with integrity can be an indication of our hearts condition.
WORK: A life of purity has everything to do with our character and or ability to lean on Christ in our weakness. Ministry can trick you into thinking you need to be the best at everything. As pastors, we can feel like we need to be perfect at everything. Ministry is hard and people can be very difficult. This can breed discontent and bitterness which can quickly lead to justifying not giving our best. If we are to live a life of purity and have a long career in ministry we have to remember that we are called to Love and shepherd the flock that Jesus gave us. Knowing, that we aren’t perfect and we will blow it helps us on this path. We are called to be ourselves, excelling in our strengths but also embracing our weaknesses.
Sex:The number one way to live a life of purity is through transparency. The way we deal with inner life can determine how transparent we are. Remember we are only as sick as our secrets. Find someone to be real with. Join a group where you can be yourself. Pastors as a group are some of the most lonely people I have ever meet. Most don’t even have one close friend let alone someone who they can confide in. For many of us this has to be someone outside of our church circles. However this works, find someone to be yourself with and watch how Jesus starts the process of healing and purity in your life.