You know the old adage, "Practice what you preach"? Well the other day I heard a new rendition of this little phrase and it made a whole lot more sense.
Instead of practicing what we preach, or telling people to do something then making sure we're doing it as well, what if we started preaching what we practice? In other words, what if we started living out what we were supposed to do and only then talking about it? Paul basically instructs us to do this when he tells us to follow him as he follows Christ. It's not a 'do what I say' mentality, but a 'do what I do' mentality. This is the heart of discipleship. A life wrapped up in right living, right thinking, right doing and then right teaching. Teaching does not come first, doing does.
When we think about the church and various pitfalls which occur - church being boring, an astounding amount of hypocrisy, discipleship gone wrong etc, I think more often than not it comes down to this principle. It is all too easy to "preach at" people - and I think you know what I mean when I say this. We've all been "preached at." Whether by a pastor or a friend or a youth leader. The problem comes when the person speaking their message or two minute blurb fails to live out what is being preached. If we tell people to love one another then fail to do so, our lives will amount to little more than a walking textbook for what not to do. But if we actually live out the love of Jesus then let our words mirror our actions, we will do far more teaching than our words alone ever could.