Practice the Word
“Just do it” may have been a fitting bumper sticker on Ezra’s camel. Ezra studied with the intention of practicing before he preached. Before Ezra taught the people to love God and love others as the Law commanded, he purposed to practice these lessons of love as a living illustration from which the people could learn. As we learned yesterday, Jesus warned His disciples to be wary of leaders who do not practice what they preach. No doubt Jesus would have approved of Ezra’s ministry.
The “Apostle’s teaching” that we proclaim (Acts 2:42) reminds us that though the Law lays out a good and holy path for us to follow, only faith in Jesus as He is presented in the Gospel gives us the feet to walk in love for God and others (Romans 3:19-31; Galatians 5:6). Our people need to hear us teach “faith expressing itself in love” for God and others even as they see us learning to live it. Like Paul, we must give our people “not only the Gospel, but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). People don’t need perfect pastors and teachers, but pastors and teachers who practice believing the very Gospel they preach.
Do your people see you pressing on to obey God by repenting and believing the Gospel? How will you let them learn from your life? What do you ultimately want them to learn from your lessons and life: self-dependent, self-improvement or Spirit-dependent, Gospel-transformation? When was the last time your people saw you repent and believe the Gospel?