Religious Trap #3 – Preaching not Practicing

Romans 2:17-23 – But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

A pastor friend has a great analogy that people seem to really connect with. He says that religious people tend to use the Bible as binoculars instead of a mirror.

When you use the Bible as binoculars you look far away from yourself and instead focus intently on the details of other people so that you can find their faults, flaws, and failures to criticize and judge them while ignoring yourself.

The result is that you preach to others things you do not practice for yourself. The results are threefold. One, you become a hypocrite who does not practice what they preach. Two, you brag about your superiority to others which is the sin of pride and often simply untrue. Three, you think you should lead and teach others even though you are blind and have no idea where you are going. These people love to push their way into leadership in churches and ministries and the result is a culture of law for you and grace for me.

When you use the Bible as a mirror for yourself, you start to see your own problems, pains, and perils and don’t pay much attention to other people. This allows you to see the places you need to repent and make changes, have God forgive you, and the Holy Spirit empower you to live differently. You spend far more energy dealing with your own sin than worrying about what everyone else is doing. You live a life of grace for me and grace for others as we are all sinners and need the Savior. The result is humility and a culture where we are invited to be honest about our struggles and get the help we need to become the people God intends for us to be when He’s done with us.

To find the free Romans study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit or download the realfaith app. 

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