10 Disciplines of a Godly Pastor

March 08, 2017

by Kent Hughes

1. Discipline of Purity

Sensuality is the biggest obstacle to godliness among Christian leaders. The fall of King David should not only instruct us but also scare the sensuality right out of us! Fill yourself with God’s Word—memorize passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8; Job 31:1; Proverbs 6:27; Ephesians 5:3–7; and 2 Timothy 2:22. Find someone who will help you keep your soul faithful to God. Develop the divine awareness that sustained Joseph: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9).

2. Discipline of Relationships

To be all God wants you to be, put some holy sweat into your relationships! If you are married, you need to live out Ephesians 5:25–31. For those who are fathers, God provides a workout in one pungent sentence: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Relationships are not optional (Heb. 10:25); they enable us both to develop into what God wants us to be and to most effectively learn and live God’s truth.

3. Discipline of Mind

The potential of possessing the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) introduces the scandal of today’s church—pastors who do not think Christianly, leaving their minds undisciplined. The apostle Paul understood this well: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8). You can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly, for you cannot be influenced by that which you do not know.

4. Discipline of Devotion

Reading God’s Word is essential, but meditation internalizes the Word and responds, “I delight to do your will, O my God” (Ps. 40:8). Beyond obedience to instructions such as those found in Ephesians 6:18–20, there are two additional great reasons to pray. First, the more we expose our lives to the white-hot sun of Christ’s righteous life, the more his image will be burned into our character. Second, prayer bends our wills to God’s will. Many pastors never have an effective devotional life because they never plan for it; they never expose their lives to his pure light. . . .

. . . .continue reading at Crossway.

Kent Hughes

Dr. Hughes (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of practical theology at WTS.

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