Practising and Preaching

I've had one of those weeks. You know, one of those weeks where all things seem to conspire to tell you how bad you are at everything.

Huw Williams | 21:30, Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Firstly there was the Italian classes. If our class was the Premier League, I would definitely be Wigan right now. I was even managing to try the patience of the saintly Elena, our Job-esque teacher, on Friday afternoon.

Then there was the gym. This is part of a longer story (remind me to tell you sometime) but suffice to say for now, that I've been taken on as something of a project (or should we say a challenge?) by one of the more fitness-conscious members of the church here. Now that the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are getting lower, our exercise regime moved on Saturday from the local park to the gym. Surrounded by a large group of even larger (and not entirely un-intimidating) guys pumping iron, I had a little reminder of how pathetically weak I am. If the gym looked like a set from Rocky, I was definitely the guy with the mop and bucket.

And then there's a little dose of man-cold to contend with. But you know me, never one to complain…

It was only then, looking back over the week that was, that I was reminded of how we started the Bible Study on Wednesday evening. Looking over Philippians 3:1-14 we considered where it was we that we found our identity. Some of us look for it in success, others in power, some in self-esteem, others in self-image. Paul found it in Christ Jesus:-

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." (Phil 3:8-9)

And as I looked back over a week of brilliantly-executed mediocrity, and remembered my 'big idea teaching point' of Wednesday evening, I had to ask myself, "So Huw, what's your definition of irony?" It can be frightening can't it? – the way we so quickly forget what we have learned from God’s Word, the way we can be slow to apply it to our lives. And those of us who have the privilege of teaching God’s Word are no less susceptible to this problem. Preaching and practice are not always the same thing.

If this work is indeed God's work, if His strength is made perfect in weakness, then who am I to pity my own deficiencies? If my identity is truly found in Christ Jesus, who am I to not rejoice in "…Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ"?

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