Nearly all my life I have heard the expression, “Practice what you preach.” One time, after a young man finished his sermon, I overheard someone comment, “That was a good sermon.  It is a shame that he does not practice what he preaches.” How sad!  As we think of the statement, “practice what you preach,” we recognize that it is a worthy aspiration and certainly a scriptural one (Romans 2:21, 22; Matthew 23:2, 3; 2 Corinthians 3:2).

However, in this article, I would like to turn this statement around and ask the question “Can I preach what you practice?”  Remember, every day that we live we are practicing something, and as such we are “preaching” by our actions to more people than the preacher will ever have a chance to preach to on Sunday.

CAN I PREACH WHAT YOU PRACTICE IN PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY? – If you read it as much or more than you do other pieces of literature, I may well be able to do so. If the Bible is an honored book in your home, then I can. There is strong emphasis throughout the scripture to study it.

                                    The Psalmist took great delight in it – Psalms 1:1, 2

                                    The word of the Lord was to be taught to the children of the

                                    children of Israel – Deuteronomy 6:6-9

                                    Consider Paul’s words to Timothy – 2 Timothy 2:15

 The Bible has experienced wide spread neglect and abuse. Even some teachers and leaders in the church have abandoned earnest Bible Study. When such is done, I cannot preach what is practiced. We should ask ourselves, when was the last time we earnestly studied God’s Word?

CAN I PREACH WHAT YOU PRACTICE IN THE INFLUENCE OF OTHERS? – If we understand anything at all about the teachings of Christ, we understand that we are to influence others for good. Christ taught this in His statements about “salt,” “light,” and “leaven” as seen in Matthew 5:13-16; 16:6, 11. When I see Christians influencing others for good, they are practicing something that I can preach as that which is approved of by God. Wives, with a winning influence over non-members of the church in their families, is something I can preach (1 Corinthians 7:16; 1 Peter 3:1, 2).  Men that make a conscious mark on those of the world present me with the opportunity to preach what they practice (1 Peter 2:11, 12). Seeing Christians bring the lost to the Lord is a practice that I can preach. When people look at our lives, and then look at our religion and think it a farce because of our manner of life, I cannot preach such a practice.

CAN I PREACH WHAT YOU PRACTICE IN REGARDS TO SPEECH? – Yes, when your “yeas” are always “yea,” and your “nays” are always “nay.” It is so easy to preach the honesty of speech (Matthew 5:37; Colossians 3:9).

When we spend week after week letting no filthy communication proceed out of our mouths, I can preach what is being practiced (Colossians 3:8). When there is the marked absence of profanity and abusive language in our lives that can be preached.  The story is told of a Christian lady that persuaded her husband to start attending services with her. He agreed that he would send his best suit to the cleaners and go the next Sunday. At services, he was surprised to meet a fellow-worker from the plant, and some neighbors he had no idea were members of the church. Another week passed, and he was not at worship. When he went to work on Monday the fellow-laborer he’d seen at services said, “I didn’t see you at services yesterday.  Was someone sick?” “Well, I’ll tell you,” he replied, “I’ve been thinking about the way we talk here on the job, and I don’t believe it does any good to go to services on Sunday and cuss on Monday.”

What a pity that we cannot see our own short comings, but must have worldly people point them out! It would do us good to remind ourselves of the change that has come about in our lives        (2 Corinthians 5:17, 18).

CAN I PREACH WHAT YOU PRACTICE IN REGARDS TO PLACES YOU GO? – When you have been careful to take your family to services I can preach what you practice. However, when you forsake the assembly, I cannot preach such as appropriate behavior (Hebrews 10:25).  Each of us should be working on our schedule to see that we can attend all the services of the church. When such is done, that can preached.  When we are careful to avoid places that have activities and appearances of evil, such can be preached (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

But when we are careless in our attendance and lax in the places we go, nothing good can be said about it.

The question to each of us is, “Can I preach what we practice as an example of the way to live our life that indicates we are pleasing to God?”  If not, then is not there the need for change in our lives?

 

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