Should I Practice What I Preach? - Lindsay Schmidt

Posted on July 23, 2021

Practice what you preach. We have all heard this at some point throughout our lives, I’m sure. So, let’s break this down so we can get to the bottom of it’s meaning. Whatever it is that you believe, whether that means not treating animals with cruelty, not smoking cigarettes, going to church every Sunday, or whatever it is that you stand upon, that you believe wholeheartedly, those things are what you talk to people about (preach) because they are what you are passionate about. So, if you are going around telling everyone that being cruel to a dog is wrong and if someone wants to treat a dog that way then they shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog, but then you go home and beat your dog or leave him outside in zero-degree temperatures, is that okay? I think not.  Some people may disagree and say, “what people don’t know won’t hurt them.” But what if the neighbor you just told your whole non-cruelty belief system to sees your dog being left outside in zero-degree temperatures? What then? Or you’re at your local dog park where you go every day, and someone sees you hit your dog because your frustrated that he won’t sit. What then? Now you have yourself a situation. You have shown yourself a hypocrite, haven’t you? Preaching something you say you believe strongly in yet doing the very things you’re preaching at others about. I have two young children right now and I know every mother and father on the planet would agree that if you’re not careful and watch what you say and do around your children, whether good or bad, they will copy it. Some things they copy are adorable because they aren’t bad, and it makes you laugh, and it becomes a favorite memory. But what about the bad stuff they copy, like an ugly word, or an action that wasn’t supposed to be seen? Those things aren’t cute and hurt your heart when you see them repeated by your child. 

So, let’s go to the place where we can learn about this topic, the bible. Matthew 23:3 tells us this: “So practice and observe whatever they tell you-but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” This is talking about what we all just read, people who tell you to do something one way but they themselves do the opposite. It says to take what they say and do that but do not do what they do for they don’t practice what they preach. Romans 2:20-24 tells us: an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Again, this is put plainly for us. Are we going to teach not to steal but we then steal? This scripture says that if that is how we act and what we do, God’s name will be blasphemed because of us. That word blasphemed means the same as swear, or curse against God’s name. So, if we preach one thing, but then do the thing we preached against we will be swearing against God’s perfect and holy name.  James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We are to read God’s word, His instruction for us, and we are not only to read the words written and hold them inside our hearts and minds but also to portray the words outwardly in our actions for all to see. If We are instructed to love our neighbors, and we show love to our neighbors by making them a hot meal when they are sick, or inviting them to community group, or just simply saying “hello” when we see them, then we will be showing them God’s love and that is an open door for a beautiful conversation about God’s love for them. And that is what we have been created to do on earth, spread God’s love to all who may be lost and wandering. 

Let us not do anything that may bring any type of blasphemy to God’s name. Let us always check ourselves and ask, “Am I speaking in a way that brings God glory?” and “Am I acting in a way that brings God glory.”  Because if we have been made in God’s image and therefore are the human reflection of God here on this earth, what we do matters. How we speak matters. How we act matters. Because with our actions and words we will either point someone to God or help push them away from Him. Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” And on that glorious day when God brings us up to Him in heaven to be judged for our eternity, let us have given Him no reason to say He didn’t know us. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  Go about your days in such a way that the people you meet wonder about that light that shines on you. Let them see that you are not only a reader and hearer of the word, but also a doer of the word because practicing what you preach is so very important to your eternity.


He gives us Roots so we can Fly. Roots and Wings.