Walking Your Talk?

Maria I. MorganBible Studies, Blog Archive

Walking Your Talk?

With a background in fitness and nutrition, and knowledge about the evils of sugar, it’s kind of embarrassing for me to admit I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. I enjoy baking and have used sugary confections as a reward more than a time or two. While a balanced diet can include the occasional dessert – I have to limit myself so things don’t get out of hand.

Years ago, when I used to teach weight management classes, I found myself choosing foods ever-so-carefully at restaurants. I knew all the benefits of a healthy diet. I was also a bit paranoid that I’d bump into one of my students and I didn’t want my choices to play a role in his/her downfall.

A common problem

We’ve all heard the expression, “Practice what you preach.” Apparently that idiom came from a Bible verse:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.Matthew 23:3, KJV

Jesus was referring to the Pharisees, or religious teachers, in this passage. They were teaching others the importance of keeping the Law, but they weren’t applying it in their own lives. Instead of being role models for what it meant to honor God, these men were just speaking empty words.

Before we’re too hard on these guys, let’s take a look at our own lives.

Are we living out what we say we believe? Are we showing others what it means to live for Christ?

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An example of a believer

Being a good example is important. But being a good spiritual example is critical. The apostle Paul felt it was so crucial, he included a section about it in his first letter to Timothy:

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.1 Timothy 4:12

Paul didn’t just say Timothy’s speech was important. But the way he lived his life would also make a big impact on his ministry. Paul urged Timothy to live: with love, yielded to the Holy Spirit, relying on/trusting in god, and with moral virtue.

As a young pastor of a church dealing with false teachers, this had to be challenging. But Paul didn’t stop there. He gave Timothy some ‘how-to’ instructions.

Paul’s instructions

  • Paul told Timothy to continue proclaiming God's message (1 Timothy 4:13)He was to read it, preach it, and teach it to those in his congregation.

  • He wasn't to neglect his spiritual gift (1 Timothy 4:14)Although this gift isn't spelled out, it's possible, "The 'gift' likely represented an aptitude for teaching and preaching together with an ability to understand the gospel and discern error." (Lea, T.D., & Griffin, H.P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 139). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

  • He was to be consistent in his spiritual growth (1 Timothy 4:15)He was to meditate on, or keep thinking about God's truth and give himself wholly (entirely) to it.

  • He was to watch his life and what he was teaching very closely (1 Timothy 4:16)As the New American Commentary puts it, "Timothy was to scrutinize both his behavior and his theology. Moral and doctrinal rectitude are the inseparable twins of the Christian life." (Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H.P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 141). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

These guidelines had to be encouraging to Timothy. And they still work today. As we share God’s truth with others, make use of the gifts and abilities He’s given us, grow spiritually, and keep our lives lined up with Christ’s teachings – we will be the “example of the believers” Paul was talking about.

Your turn

Are you living out what you say you believe? What step will you take today to be a godly example? Let’s talk about it! Share your thoughts here in the comments below then visit our Facebook page for suggested reading, daily devotional questions, and further discussion.

Can I pray for you?

Heavenly Father, Thank You for showing us what an example of a believer looks like. Forgive us for the times our walk doesn't match our talk. Give us a hunger to share Your truth, to love You more, and to keep a close watch on our lives. Help us be good examples that encourage others to walk with You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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