116 MODELING GROWTH
Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves (James 1:22)
I am learning about pastors and missionaries across the country who are preaching against the very sins they are committing themselves. Nationally known Christian personalities who vehemently condemn immorality have themselves been found to be hiding an immoral lifestyle. Those of us who are called to preach or teach God's Word must put it on first. We must get on our knees before God as we prepare the message and say, "God, is this Scripture true in my life?" If not, we had better be honest enough to say to those who hear us, "I wish I were a better example of this passage than I am, but I'm still growing in this area." To proclaim the Word of God as if it were true in your life when it's not is a lie.
Those of us who receive the Word are also vulnerable to self-deception if we fail to put it into practice. We hear a sermon or a lesson and say, "Wow! What a great truth!! and hurry off to share it with someone else without processing it ourselves and applying it to our own lives. James said that hearers of the Word who are not also doers of the Word deceive themselves.
Why are we afraid to admit it when our lives don't completely match up to Scripture? I believe it's because many of us have a perfection complex. We think we have to model perfection and not admit to something less. But we can't model perfection, because we're not perfect; we can only model growth. The people around us need to know that we are real people in the process of maturing. They need to see how we handle failure as well as how we handle success. When we model this kind of honesty in the Christian community, we greatly reduce the possibility of the deceiver gaining a foothold.
Lord, forgive me for the times I have placed the quest for earthly perfection ahead of growth in You and Your Word. Help me model growth in my life today.