Practice what you preach! Christ as the master teacher (John 3:2) taught his disciples not only by word but by example (John 13:15). He demonstrated by His living how they should live before their heavenly Father. After washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:3-5), Christ explained to them the spiritual “benefits” of serving others (John 13:14-17). In fact, true happiness cannot be attained in any other way. What will bring true happiness in time will also bring it into eternity (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Tim. 6:17-19). The principle of helping those who are spiritually weak (Romans 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:14), of weeping with those that weep (Romans 12:15), of encouraging the lowly (Luke 6:20; Gal. 2:10) and encouraging the sinful to sin no more (John 8:11), is the essential and fundamental spirit of our Lord. To cultivate the spirit and practice of doing good to others (Matthew 5:44; Acts 10:38) is the work that fits mortals for that eternal heavenly home (Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Peter 1:4).
To understand the importance of learning to practice what you preach, British-born American writer Edgar A. Guest wrote the following words:
“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing that the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done.
I can watch your hands in action, but
your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true;
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the
high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how
you act and how you live.”
As the master teacher, Jesus not only “told” but provided the perfect example (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-22; 1 John 2:6) of how we as God’s children should live before our heavenly Father and fellow man. This same principle of “practice what you preach” was demonstrated in Paul’s and Peter’s life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Gal. 2:20; 1 Peter 4:1-2). Faithful Christians are to provide the proper spiritual “example” before men by the lives they lead (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Peter 2:12).
In our everyday living, what kind of spiritual “sermon” are we preaching before others?