One of my pastors used to pray “Lord save us by the same gospel we preach to others.” It is an almost trivial truth, but we need remember that the message we preach is also needed by ourselves. And a corollary to this, we need to live the life we preach about.
We preachers must recognize that our preaching includes more than what we say, but also what we do and how we live. I was listening to a preacher once who was emphasizing the need for the people to sacrifice to reach the goals of the church. The same preacher a few weeks later told the people it was none of their business whether the leader sacrifices, they are just to do what God told them to do.
There is truth there. Our people must live the life God has called them to irrespective of how the preacher lives. However, we lose credibility with our people if it appears that we are preaching to others a different standard than that which we hold ourselves to. I am convinced that some of us do not touch “controversial subjects” because too often we as preachers aren’t living right. Hard to preach about the club when we clubbing. But even more insidious is when we do that which we preach against.
Many preachers have preached against homosexuality while engaging in it. Many preachers have preached against sexual relations outside of marriage while 5 or 6 kids in their congregation are pregnant with the pastors baby. Many preachers are talking about “planting a seed” in the ministry while they only plant seeds in their own personal interests.
It is true that we as preachers are not perfect, but let us allow the gospel that we preach to have its work on us. Let us recognize that our people are looking for sincere followers of the most high God who have the same struggles as they do and who are on the upward way…and gaining new heights every day. In short, you struggle, you sometimes fall, you get back up, but you are not a hypocrite who thinks the gospel is just for others and not for yoruself.