Who's speaking, please?
"For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord..." 2 Corinthians 4.5
I am reliably informed that I lack the moral authority to be telling other people what to do. This is true. Indeed, if I was of the misconception that writing this blog or preaching in church amounted to telling other people what to do, I would have stopped long ago. Indeed I would never have started.
On his death-bed, Martin Luther is said to have scribbled on a piece of paper that: "We are all beggars telling other beggars where to find bread." The apostle Paul was at pains to stress that he and his fellow apostles were not interested in making a name for themselves as sages or gurus. It seems the Corinthians, especially, had a thing about charismatic leaders (see chapters 1 and 3 of 1 Corinthians). The apostles' and our desire is to point people to Jesus.
Jesus alone has the moral authority to tell people what to do. Faithful blogging and preaching will have this is common: that they point people to Jesus, rather than drawing attention to the author.
Having said that, we are not absolved of our duty to match our lives with what we are commending to others. If we are not seen at least to be trying, our words will ring hollow. So what does that look like in practice? I suggest:
1. Faithfully share the instructions and example of Jesus
2. Live accordingly but without making a big deal of it
3. Be in the habit of owning up when you get it wrong
4. Be as gracious to others as you rely on God being to you.
Finally a health warning: this will seriously affect your pride!