Practice what you preach

”Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present” (2 Corinthians 10:11).

I was struck by this verse today. Paul is sure he is not a hypocritical Christian, a double-minded man, as James puts it (James 1:8). He lives in line with what he writes in his letter, practices what he preaches.

Practice what you preach.

Paul was by no means perfect, and would freely admit he was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). But he sought to live in line with what he said. And, I imagine, most of us could busy ourselves for the rest of our lives trying to do exactly that.

I have a feeling that the reason this verse hit me today is that I preached a message yesterday on 2 Chronicles 20, highlighting the fact that prayer is the Christian’s mother tongue. Our default language should be prayer. But I’m sure I don’t practice what I preached.

Thank God I am not justified by my ability (or lack thereof) to follow Paul’s example. Thank God I’m not redeemed on the basis of my prayer life. I want very much to grow in this and, especially in light of this reading today, am inspired all the more to pursue prayer. But my frequency in prayer is not and never will be what makes me acceptable to God. That’s what He gave us Jesus for.

When we remember that, we are free to obey. Obedience, seeking the Lord in prayer, practicing what I preach is not a burden I need to lug all the way to heaven. Jesus’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30). Grace loosens the chains of religion and lets us run toward holiness in joy and peace.

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