Practice what you Blog

26 08 2008

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)

 

This verse from James always makes me nervous as a preacher. God holds those who are in a position of publicly proclaiming His Word to a higher standard of judgment. They are His visible representatives, or ambassadors. So it is imperative that their lives do not contradict the message they set forth, or in any way give the enemies of God an excuse to blaspheme. The verse applies especially to ministers who preach the Gospel as a calling, but it also applies to anyone who presumes to set forth instruction in the name of God and His truth… including bloggers. 

 

Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

 

If holiness is required for anyone to see the Lord, how much more must we who publicly represent His name live holy lives as those who will give an account? Here are a few reasons that no one can be a spokesman for the Lord without living a holy life…

 

Because the doctrine of the Word is hard to understand and practice. The people who listen to your message don’t just take in the words; they watch what you DO and seek to imitate you. They assume that your lifestyle and manner of speech are the consistent outworking of the doctrine you present, and they follow your example. If you are representing Christ but acting out in ways that contradict His standards of godliness, you will lead people away from Him by your example. This is why Paul exhorted young Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16).

Because understanding of the Scriptures and the ability to present truth to others is not a guarantee of godliness. There are many preachers and teachers who have an amazing grasp of true doctrine, but who don’t live godly lives. The real proof of godliness is not just what you say in public, but how you live when no one else in watching. True godliness is a matter of the heart, not a slogan on the lips.

God hates godly speech that is not joined with a godly life. In Psalm 50:16 God says to the wicked, “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.” This is the stricter judgment that James talked about. If you think you can please God by blogging about Him while you live your life in rejection of His commandments, think again! God will call to account every one who fails to practice what they preach.

Because your life, if it is not consistent with what you teach, will tear down everything you think you are building. Little children like to build towers out of blocks only to knock them down. But men build things that are designed to stand the test of time. If your life contradicts the message you put out, you are like a child building a tower. You may instill some godly character in your listeners, but it will soon crash to the ground when they see how you live or follow your example.

 

Let’s determine before God that we will live in His grace and seek through His Spirit to back up what we preach, or blog, with lives that have been changed by His power.





The insidious power of self-justification

19 08 2008

[Jesus] spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14)

Can’t you just picture the self-righteous pharisee, standing proudly in the temple courts – where everyone passing by would see him and admire his piety? The Bible says that he wasn’t even praying to God… he was praying to himself. Smug, smug, smug! I’ll bet he was wearing his long pharisee robe and carrying a big torah scroll with his initials engraved on the the cover. What a sad and pathetic spectacle! Lord, I sure am thankful that I’m not like that guy! … oh… wait a minute…