Before I start on this post, I would like to ask anyone reading this to be sure to see my post on the 6th. I have carried some things with me for some time, (as in almost 15 years) and after a chat with someone recently I opened up some and in the process opened some emotional wounds. I feel the need to open more and I hope it will be a blessing for me to do so, I think it is time to let some things out, to purge them and let Christ heal that part of me. Hopefully someone else will receive a blessing as well.
Now, a lot of you are going to glance at the title of this post and in your minds read, practice what you preach. Please, take another look. I realize this is not the way we usually think about how we practice our daily lives. We normally do try to practice what we preach. But, I was thinking about that, and there are subtle, but very significant differences between Practicing what you preach and Preaching what you practice.
In my mind, Practicing what you preach means I would say this is how you should act, this is how you should do. As I go off in my life and try to put that concept into practice, use it to help me have a model for how to approach life and my interactions with others. That is correct, I am not saying I shouldn’t aspire to live as I say, if even to myself, how to live. However, practice means making mistakes. Mistakes are just part of being human. We will mess up. Lord knows well that I have often. The issue with practicing what you preach is that others may see the failures and not the effort. They place one in a position that if they fail or stumble, they are quick to point out the failures, or if not point out, keep that in their mind. Thinking, yeah, he says this but does that. Think of all the high profile ministers and evangelists that have had some scandal in their lives. People see that and rather than consider those evangelists are human, and to err is human. Some see it as a failure of Christians and of Christ. Christ doesn’t fail, we fail him. If we try to practice what we preach and fail, people will notice.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 1 Peter 2:21
Yes, he left us an example on how to live. But, again, while Christians understand that, well most, there are many that seem to relish in failures of others and gossip about it. But, that is a subject for another lesson Jesus has for me to learn. Yes, we know how we should do, we know what He wants of us. We often here pastors tell others the behaviors that we should avoid and those we should exemplify. The problem is, it is often hard to live up to all the standards. And, being human, if I fail, I feel bad about my failure, embarrassed sometimes. Worried that someone saw the failure and blamed it not on me, but on Jesus.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
My thought on this is that I do need to practice Christian living the best I can, every minute, every day. I know I will stumble, I wish I wouldn’t and I try not to do so, but there will be times. However, if I am living the best Christian life I can, preaching what I practice, not necessarily in words preaching, but through my works preaching so to speak, I glorify Him.
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12
So, rather than tell others that this is the way they should live, I need to do my best to live a good, Christian life. I haven’t always done so. I am trying hard to do so now. Christ helps make it much easier than it would be without Him. Honestly, I don’t think I could come close to a Christian life without His help. But, while it isn’t wrong that I say what Jesus wants of us, how He wishes us to live it seems to me that by practicing what He tells us, we can use that to preach to others.
At work, I have had difficulty tolerating certain behavior by coworkers and practices and policies from administration that interferes with my doing my job. I have, in the past been very vocal about things. Years, years ago I was extremely tolerant of things, life overall decreased that tolerance and experiences at war definitely had an impact. I had an extremely low boiling point so to speak. Over time that has improved, but I was no where near how I should have been in life when dealing with such issues. I explain that, to put into context what has happened recently, to use as an example of preaching (through actions) what I practice.
I haven’t shared things about my coming back to Christ, my struggles with putting Him first and trying to live the way God tells me to live. Not in words, but there have been a few instances where I have overhead some talking and comments were made about me. One time in particular, about a week ago, I hear one coworker talking to another and she said, “Wow, have you noticed how he has been lately? That is nothing like what I’m used to from him. He doesn’t grumble or complain about things, not even the big stuff. Something is different, I just don’t get it.”
I felt a certain happiness and satisfaction when I heard that. Not with me, because, no way could I have changed without Jesus. He has helped me so much, in so many ways.
Jesus, I praise you for who you are to me, that you are so powerful yet gentle, gracious and forgiving. I thank you for softening my words and actions that I can be an example of You. I ask you continue to work with me, for I know I have a long way to go. I ask you to continue to show me how to improve myself for you. I pray you will watch over my family, friends, loved ones and others and to work in their lives. Give them a desire to find you and live for you.
Thanks again for bearing with me. Some thoughts take more sorting in my head, some less, so some posts are long (hopefully not boring) and others much more brief. I suppose, a lot depends on how hard headed I am when it comes to listening to Him.
I hope all have a Blessed Day. And, just thinking to myself, What a great and mighty God we serve.