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Dealing with the Pharisee in Me

…but set the believers an example in speech,
in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity
The First Epistle to Timothy 4:12b (ESV)

I hate the fact that I’d much rather tell someone what to do than do it myself.

This evening was a perfect example of my Pharisaical heart. I spent the better part of an hour telling (berating, really) my wife how she needed to share the Gospel with a specific person. I was overly intense, unrelenting and unforgiving. More claws than compassion, more grit than grace, speaking more at her than with her.

Adding to my hypocrisy is the cold hard truth that there are more than enough people God has put in my life with whom I should share the Gospel. Why am I not as fired up when I look at myself? It’s because it’s easier to call other people to be obedient to Jesus than to do it yourself. When you talk to others about what they need to do you can look mature, bold and fearless – “Man, that guy can tell it like it is!” – but if there’s no personal commitment to those same things then you’ve become a paper tiger only a few raindrops away from being exposed.

In reflecting upon this unfortunate conversation with my wife (of which I repented to her), along with a good sense of humility and contrition, I’m soberly reminded that the first person who needs to hear (and practice) my sermons is me.

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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