The President, the Apostle Paul, this Pastor, and Consistency

Last night I watched President Barak Obama give the annual ‘State of the Union’ address to congress.

This morning I read some verses in Philippians.

Interesting words from two different leaders.

Consider what Paul said as a leader to the believers in Philippi:

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17)

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

These are remarkable things to say to anyone. Think about it: “Imitate me.” “Practice what you have seen me do and the God of peace will be with you.” Are you serious? What a daunting statement to make! The only peace you will have if you watch me is a peace that you are better off than I am!

This is an incredibly difficult challenge for me as a leader. I simply cannot imagine saying to anyone, “if you do what you see me doing, the peace of God will be with you.” And yet, I should aspire to this as a leader. My life should model that. The Apostle Paul didn’t bat an eye at it. He was a leader. He knew he would be imitated. So he determined to live a life that would bring peace from God to others’ lives if/when they did practice what they saw in him.

After watching our President and reading this from Paul, I long to be consistent.

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When I blow kisses to my wife, I want to be consistent in being for marriage between a man and a woman.

When I plead for dead children ‘having a vote’ on gun use, I want that to include aborted children too.

When I speak of the rich giving to the poor, I want it to be out of compassion – not out of what is so often inconsistently assumed as ‘fair.’

What frightens me in this regard is not so much the ‘consistent inconsistency’ I see in certain leaders (yes, it frightens me, but that’s not the point here). What is so scary is how blind I know I can be to my own inconsistency.

Sure, I could blast the President for these glaring inconsistencies I see from him. But I have a big log in my own eye to get out first.

Hearing what I heard and seeing what I saw last night, coupled with what I read this morning haunts me. It haunts me to think that I could consistently go to the pulpit week after week after week after week and preach the greatest truths in all of the universe with all the gusto of a heroic warrior . . . and by Monday morning live/think/talk/feel as if I have never even been in a church my entire life.

What about you? Are you like me?

How are you doing with what you learned Sunday?

What about what you read this morning?

Could others experience the peace of God in their lives if they practiced what they observed from you?

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