Friday, October 15, 2010

Live What I Believe

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." -- 2 Timothy 4:1-2

Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to sit down with our teenager and discuss our differing opinions on what is and is not appropriate behavior for a professing Christian.  Although the discussion was focused primarily on behavior, we prayerfully dug a little deeper and discussed matters of the heart, faith, and the free will that God has placed in each of us -- a will that can be exercised for the good of others or to fulfill one's own selfish desires.

God knows that I have not always taken a kind or patient approach when rebuking my children.  But in recent years, as I have studied God's Word and begun applying his principles to my own life, God has softened my heart toward my children.  When you know and live by God's Word, it is not necessary to parent your children with anger, harshness, and criticism.  In fact, God's Word holds us to the higher standards of love, grace, and patience.  When we hold out the word of life to our children, we must realize that we are accountable for upholding that same word by actions that should reflect the principles we are trying to learn and teach others.  In other words, we must practice what we preach by treating others as Jesus would treat them -- lovingly, respectfully, and patiently.  Some days that is very difficult to do, especially when the war of wills involves those we love most.

God's Word should be the ultimate resource for addressing and improving our parenting, financial management, and relationship skills.  If we aren't taking in heaping helpings of it daily, digesting it through prayer and Bible study, and applying it to our own lives, how can we expect to preach or "make known" God's principles in such a way as to have a positive impact in the lives of those around us?  No one will heed the advice of a hypocrite, but a wise, authentic Christian can have a tremendous impact in a troubled world.

If you cannot practice what you preach, then do the world a favor -- don't preach at all.  Those who preach God's truths yet live as those they are ignorant of them damage not only the reputation of Christ himself, but also the witness of those who do their best to walk in obedience to his Word.  Take the advice of one who has straddled the fence between kingdom living and worldly living, the grass is much greener on God's side of the fence!  It's time to get committed, my friends, and live what we believe!

Live What I Believe
by Russ Lee

I'm gonna live what I believe
I'm gonna walk that line
If it costs me everything
I'm gonna stand for what is right
So that everyone can see
It's Jesus that they need
I'm gonna live what I believe

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