You, therefore, who teach another do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? ... For "the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you," as it is written. Romans 2:21-24 NKJV
As I read the above passage in Romans a week ago, I wanted to say to myself that these words didn't apply to me because this particular passage looks like it was addressing the Jews (2:17). But no, I can't get out of the application that easy as Romans is still written to the Church at Rome and the principle is a general one as well, applicable to all.
The passage was/is particularly hard hitting because I enjoy teaching the bible and have recently started speaking more about the truths of the bible. Smack! "Teacher, teach yourself!", I heard loud and clear from this passage. We as Christians must be very careful to abide by the words that we say are truths from scripture because people are watching us to see if we really do practice what we preach. We should want to avoid being hypocrites, but more importantly, we should not want to blaspheme God's Holy name.
Think about the latter part of the passage, about God's name being blasphemed. Years ago I was participating in a women's bible study through Titus 2:3-5 when the whole point of how I could blaspheme God's name really was driven home to me. I didn't think that I was or could be a blasphemer. After all, that was for the pagans! Think again.
In Titus 2:5, the word "blaspheme in the Greek means to speak impiously or irreverently. It is also used as to defame, rail on revile, and to speak evil of. The first mention of the word blaspheme is found in Leviticus 24:16. This word in the Hebrew means to puncture (to perforate, with more or less violence)... It is used also as appoint, bore, curse, express, with holes, name, pierce and strike through. (Woman to Woman, Cheryl Adams, Ch. 1)
We all blaspheme, or pierce, God's name when our actions contradict what we know as God's instructions for righteousness in our lives. Ouch. Think about how much a puncture wound hurts. A puncture wound is the worst kind. To think that I can be a part of "puncturing" God's name is a really sobering thought to me. I don't want to be a blasphemer, do you?
Teach Yourself...Ask Yourself...
1) What action or attitude in my life contradicts clear bible teaching?
2) As a Christian, do I know my "owner's manual", my bible, that tells me how a Christian should "operate"?
3) What can I do to better follow the bible's instructions for my life so that I won't be a blasphemer or a hypocrite?
Dear Lord, thank you for your word and placing truths in its pages that not only comfort us but exhort us to live better lives for you. I don't think any of us want to knowingly cause harm to your name. I know that I don't. Forgive us though, when we slip up and live our way and not yours. Show us how we can be better examples for you. Make your word come alive to each one of us so much so that we can't wait to open our Bibles each day to see what you have for us there. Teach us your ways and teach us to teach ourselves so that we can make you proud of us as we share your light to this dark world. Amen.