One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible. I blogged about it earlier in the year here. So last night after our High School student gathering, I was reading in Matthew 23 in The Message and came across this in the first few verses:
"Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer." - Matthew 23:1-3, The Message
That passage hit me like a ton of bricks. I go to great lengths to make sure that I communicate in an effective and relevant matter when I teach God’s word, whether it’s to students or adults. Apparently the Pharisees were pretty competent teachers as well. But when it came to living out what they taught they stunk. They were so off-base that Jesus told people that their teachings of the word were ok, but warned them about following the way they lived. Ouch.
As I teach God’s word and lead others in following Jesus I don’t want that accusation to be made of me. I don’t want others to have an excuse to say that my teaching is all spit-and-polish veneer. I want to live in such a way that my life gives my teaching power, not polish. I want to follow Jesus with such passion that my teaching comes from my heart instead of hides it. When I think about sharing the word of God I want to be able to talk a good line. But I want to live a good life to give that talk power. God, help me to make sure that my beliefs match my behavior, that my convictions match my character, and that the meaning of my talk matches the marching of my walk.