10 Things It’s Easier to Tell Others to Do than to Do Ourselves

Those of us who are church leaders are in positions that require us to encourage and guide others in their walk with God. Sometimes that role means we must challenge a brother or sister to make a change. In some cases, though, I suspect it’s easier to tell others what to do than it is to do the same ourselves–like these:

  1. Pray for those who hurt you. Jesus told His followers we must do this (Luke 6:28), but it’s not so easy for us to do. We can tell others to do it while we’re unwilling to do it in our own lives. 
  2. Share the good news with loved ones. We tell others to do it, but for many of us . . . and for reasons I don’t fully know . . .  it’s easier to speak the gospel to people we don’t know well than it is to tell the people we love most.
  3. Forgive somebody. Again, Jesus was clear about our responsibility (Matt 6:14-15). We know believers must obey Him—unless, apparently, we’re the very believers who need to forgive. We cling to our bitterness while telling others to let go of theirs. 
  4. Trust God in a storm. It’s easy (and right) to teach others they must trust God when they’re in the middle of a storm. It’s not so easy to trust Him, however, when it’s your boat that’s sinking. 
  5. Sing when life gets unexpectedly rough. That’s what Paul and Silas did in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:24-25). We likewise challenge others to sing in hard times—though they may not always find us singing when the bottom drops out in our lives. 
  6. Pray first, do second. That’s the right order—and we know it well enough that we encourage others to do it—but many of us do just the opposite at the same time. 
  7. Get sabbath rest. That is, we need to make sure we get sufficient rest to take care of the bodies God has given us. We teach it—but often don’t do it. 
  8. Thank God for everything. That’s what Paul told us to do (1 Thess 5:18), so that’s the message we proclaim. In our own lives, though, we’re too often lax in thanking God for either the blessings we take for granted and for the hard times we don’t understand. 
  9. Confess our sins to one another. Again, the Word gives us that direction (James 5:16). It’s just easier to encourage others to do it than it is for us to be the ones who confess. Teaching is easier than doing. 
  10. Give God a blank check. I’ve written in the past about why we need to do this, and I stand by that expectation for all of us. For many of us, though, we tell others to do it when we’ve not really done it ourselves. It’s too risky when it’s our check with nothing on it. 

What would you add to this list? 


  • Phillip Hurst says:

    In the past When things didn’t go the way I thought that they should I was quite confident that I needed to work with all MY might to alter the course of events. Now I am more of a mindset of watching and praying for the situation and seeing what God will do. I may still have a battle to fight connected with the troubling situation but at least I’m better with keeping my Faith in God than I once was. That said I realize I’m far, far short of where I need to be. Thanks again for this list this morning.

  • Phillip Hurst says:

    I might add, if we tell people to do these things but don’t do them ourselves we can be certain that others will notice our own inconsistencies and our credibility will suffer.

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