Popular resolutions many people wish to reach in a new year can be losing weight, exercising more, being more organized, spending more time with family, quit smoking, quit drinking, removing some debt, helping others, or simply learning to enjoy their life to the fullest.
One decision all of God’s children should make, not as a New Year’s Resolution but as a life goal or objective, is to “practice what we preach.” In other words, do not be a hypocrite.
Jesus made it clear that hypocrisy really grinds God’s gears. The King James Version quotes Jesus often saying “Woe to you...hypocrites.” Modern translations translate this more simply to mean, “what sorrow awaits you…hypocrites.” Hypocrisy is deceit and deceit is a sin, and God hates sin.
Jesus spoke out against a group of Pharisees saying they were like marble tombs, which are white on the outside, but on the inside they were filled with bones of the dead and all kinds of impurities. He knew this sinfulness was within them because He could see their hearts.
He can see our hearts as well. Even to this day, He sees if His children are what we claim to be. Nothing is—nor can be—hidden from God.
Not only can God see our hypocrisy, but others around us can see it as well, and they make judgments about us by the way we live. Non-Christians have an almost uncanny ability to point out the flaws of a Christian who is not practicing what they preach. And through this observation they may decide that being a Christian is useless, and they miss an opportunity to know the real, one true God. That is some serious stuff!
Another example of our hypocrisies creating a stumbling block for others could be when a young person watches the way we live. If we give the wrong example, they may follow. We may discourage them from even trying.
Go ahead, cry and face it: We cannot all lose 50 pounds before Easter. Not all of us can give up caffeine. Don’t get discouraged if you do not get completely organized by February. Don’t hold onto the dream of working off a $50,000 debt in a short time when you only make $40,000 a year!
What we can change and work on right away is practicing what we preach. We can all be truthful. Jesus said “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7: 6 NLT).
Whatever your resolutions are this year, practice what you preach.