[Jesus said] “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Practice What You Preach
Before Johnny’s mom left for work, she ducked her into his bedroom. “Now, don’t forget,” she said. “I need you to empty the dishwasher, put your clothes away, and clean your room before I get home.” “Yes, Mom,” Johnny replied with a bright smile. “I’ll be happy to do it!”
But then he didn’t. Not one thing. Nada. Sound familiar?
It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something; it’s quite another to get it done. Jesus is the only person who has never fallen into that trap. He has never failed to live up to his promises and never once neglected to practice what he preached. He didn’t just approve the standard with his words; he set the standard with his actions.
We, on the other hand, constantly blow it. At our best, we still look for shortcuts and often assume that the bare minimum is good enough for others. Going the extra mile for someone is considered several bridges too far. At our worst, we thumb our nose at what we know to be the right thing and do the opposite instead.
But God’s children are called to fight against those selfish urges and to model their mindset after Jesus’ own. Christians are called to practice what they preach. The Savior himself explained that nodding your head approvingly at God’s commands is not enough. Instead, “whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Do Christians ever manage to do that perfectly this side of heaven? They can’t, no matter how hard they try. Like everyone else, Christians are broken sinners, too. But that doesn’t mean they throw in the towel and call it a day. No, with each new day they strive once again to practice what they preach, not to earn God’s favor and forgiveness, but to be more like Jesus, who freely grants all people his favor and forgiveness.
You can be certain that those eternal gifts are yours too, because Jesus practices what he preaches.
Jesus, help me understand better your perfect love for me. Amen.