PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH! Jesus had some interesting discussions with and comments for the religious leaders of His day. The Gospel of Matthew chapter twenty-three is a running commentary that all Christians and religious leaders should reflect on. For instance Jesus said of the spiritual leaders in His day that “they do not practice what they preach,” (v.3 NIV) and “everything they do is done for people to see,” (v.5 NIV). Jesus also noted that those religious leaders “love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ (teacher, v.7 NIV). Jesus also said that many of the religious leaders of His day “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” and that the religious leaders were not going into God’s eternal kingdom and by their actions they were preventing others from doing so even though the other people wanted to enter God’s kingdom (v.13 NIV). It is possible to appear to be religious and appear to be God’s spokesman while actually leading people down the road to hell. I think society is filled with religious leaders today who do not practice what they preach and who are leading people along with their false doctrine and actions to the very pits of hell.
It would be a good thing if all Christians and especially all Christian spiritual leaders would evaluate if they really practice what they preach. When we hold up God’s Word and God’s spiritual principles before the world and preach that these are the things others should be honoring and practicing then let us make sure that we practice what we preach. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted,” (vs.11-12 NIV). Let us in humility attempt to live for Jesus while preaching Jesus because we know how easy it is to fall into sin. Jesus also said that these religious leaders of His day appeared “to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness,” (v.28 NIV). It is a good thing to compare what we are inwardly to what we profess outwardly so that the name of Jesus is not dishonored and so that we don’t live the life of hypocrites. Let us do what Jesus advised the Pharisees of His day to do, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean,” (v.26 NIV). Practice what you preach!