Paul was a spiritual father to Timothy. And in the books of 1 and 2 Timothy, he gives him deep pastoral wisdom, guidance, and practical instruction.
Timothy was a pastor in Ephesus, an important economic and cultural center of the day. And he needed encouragement to weed out bad doctrine and remain focused on his purpose as a young pastor.
Paul wrote to Timothy:
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
There are many facets of leading God’s people as a pastor. But in today’s verse, we learn five things that form the basis of this purpose.Pastors are charged by Jesus with a goal. Click To Tweet
First, there is an “aim” and Jesus gives it. Imagine a warrior drawing back a razor-sharp arrow on a bow, taking aim on a specific target.
This is a pastor commissioned by Jesus to defeat the gates of hell. To save souls and preserve lives.A pastor's aim is loving God and neighbor. Click To Tweet
Second, to fulfill this aim is to pursue the greatest commands: loving God and loving neighbor (Mk 12:30–31).
Our purpose isn’t simply to work; it’s to be in relationship with the Father.A pastor's heart should have undiluted focus. Click To Tweet
Third, a pure heart entails moral integrity. However, think about the greater context of Paul’s letter.
He’s telling Timothy not to swerve from “sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1:3–11). And this means a laser focus on the person and work of Jesus. As Paul says elsewhere, to preach nothing but Christ and him crucified.
Think about a glass of water. To be clean, it must be free of adulterants. This is a great picture of the pastor’s heart: purely focused on Jesus rather than being diluted by the things of the world.A pastor should be honestly at peace with their level of obedience. Click To Tweet
Fourth, a good conscience flows from leaving nothing on the table in the obedience department.
Every night when a pastor’s head hits the pillow, they should honestly be at peace knowing they followed the Holy Spirit to the best of their ability. They didn’t willfully disobey or ignore him.A faithful pastor has belief that bleeds. Click To Tweet
Fifth, having a sincere faith means “belief that bleeds.” A good pastor actually believes the Gospel! Believes the Bible!
This doesn’t mean that doubt or questions should be ignored. Instead, they are honestly brought before God and wise counsel.
And ultimately, so they would lead the charge in faithfulness and pour everything they have into loving God, serving neighbors, and pursuing Jesus.
Their belief is so real that they would suffer, and even bleed, for it.
- If you’re a pastor, consider these five principles as an invitation into deeper spiritual leadership, authority, and experience.
- If you aspire to the ministry (which Paul says is a good thing!), hold your life up to them as you prepare.
- If you’re a layperson, encourage your pastors and spiritual leaders when you see these qualities in them—because they are leading well.