Recently someone asked me, "How can pastors stay spiritually vital?"

I said, "I don't worry about that."

He looked surprised, even shocked. "To me, there's an issue even bigger than staying spiritually vital," I explained. "The important thing is to stay spiritually authentic."

There's a difference. Usually when I hear people talk about staying spiritually vital, they're talking about staying pumped, being spiritually up, feeling strong, keeping the glow. But that's only part of the spiritual life. To expect to be spiritually high all the time is like expecting to romance your wife every evening. It just isn't realistic.

In the Christian life, there's an ebb and flow. Sometimes you feel exalted and glorious; other times you feel weighed down or simply quiet. Some days you feel despairing; other days resilient and joyful. The strong, vital times come, too, but they're not the constant.

The rub comes when we expect to be buoyant constantly. And as pastors we may get that message from others. ...

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