Live What You Preach

Romans 2:  21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? 

The position of captain on a team is one filled with honour but also significant responsibility.  Picture teams you have played on or perhaps teams that you root for.  Now picture the various captains.  I would bet that those whom you most revered were those captains who, above all else, led by example.

There have been many great captains in the National Hockey League, but only one has an award named after him.  Each year the Mark Messier Leadership Award is presented to a player who is a superior leader on his team, on and off the ice.  Messier was that guy.  He is the only player in NHL history to serve as captain of two Stanley-Cup winning franchises, the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 (even after Wayne Gretzky had left the team), and New York Rangers in 1994 (ending their 54-year Stanley Cup drought).

When you hear stories about Messier you hear of a man who led by example.  While he was a great motivator in and outside the locker room, while he was someone who apparently was well-spoken, there is not a chance that Messier would have inspired any of his teammates had he not led by example.  If he pushed them to dig deep in critical games when there was no energy in the tanks, but then chose to give a half-hearted skating effort himself, his teammates would have ignored his motivational speeches.  But for Messier this was not an issue as he was always the hardest worker – he lived out what he preached.

In the same way as believers, God calls us to live out what we preach.  Read Romans 2; in it the Apostle Paul addresses both hypocrisy and living out what you preach.  19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? (Romans 2: 19-21)

I have worked and also played sports with many Christians.  I can tell you that for many, their witness to the world was either bolstered or damaged by their conduct, either consistently matching or conversely clashing with what the Bible teaches.  I have heard many non-Christians (rightfully so) totally dismiss such so-called Christians when their own personal integrity far exceeds those of these “Christians”.

I am not suggesting that as Christians we are to be perfect, or even pretend to be.  In fact, I have found that some of my best witnessing opportunities have come after I have failed in public and apologized.  What I am talking about is how we strive to live our lives each day.  If we have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, and we make daily efforts to get into his living and convicting word (Hebrews 4:12), and make Him preeminent in our lives, then the Holy Spirit will be alive and well in us and will convict us of sin (John 16:8) and assist us in righteous living.  Only with Jesus in us can we live unhypocritical lives.

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