Purity, like the roots of a plant, addresses what’s under the surface, the motivations of the heart. Are our motives and our hearts pure? If its roots are rotten, a tree will only look good for so long. In the same way, the best of who we are in life and work will suffer if the condition of our hearts and motives is left unchecked and unaddressed. We can only function in this state for a limited time before breakdowns and blowups happen. Purity is growing in sensitivity to the deep activity and work of God in your life. This is a place of preparing, maturing, and developing character.
Purity begins with us, but it does not end there. It is important because if we move straight into purpose with questions: What is my purpose? or What am I supposed to do? We may miss the “Why” behind them. As we grow and develop as leaders, failing to examine our motives and our hearts, and focusing more on our doing instead of our being can put us at risk for chronic stress and burnout. Taking time for reflection is necessary for longevity and impact. Purity is vital because it asks the question: Why do I do what I do?
Purity is freedom from anything that contaminates or pollutes. Regarding the purity of our motives, it is about identifying negative motivations and the influences driving them. Motivations can be intrinsic or extrinsic, coming from within or from outside factors. In light of this, self-reflection and self-examination are essential to discern changes that will lead to healthy growth and development.
We have heard stories of famous people, artists, and athletes, thrust into stardom at a young age. Lacking maturity and self-awareness, many are crushed under the weight of expectations and negative influences. In search of escape, they succumb to addictions or destructive habits. Great success can at times prove a path to unfortunate hardship. When things are good we can often partially mask some of the negativity, gutting it out, and pushing through to get the job done. But this can only last so long. When life gets stressful, difficult, and challenging, that is when hidden things are revealed. Glaringly.
Dealing with negative, unhealthy motives builds resilience to remain firm. Positive motivation is the powerful impetus that will help us overcome challenges, face frustration, and manage the pain of leading. In times of suffering, and especially in times of pain, we can continue to learn and grow.