Before I open the penetrating brilliance of God’s Word to my church, I must stand in the spotlight of His Word.
In other words, I should never stand before my church with my finger pointed at them. Instead, the finger of God should be squarely pointed at me. Only then can I share with my congregation what God is doing in my life.
I’ve always tried to pastor this way, but recently I read this passage in John Bunyan’s autobiography which made this truth even more real to me –
“Sometimes I have been about to preach upon some smart and searching portion of the Word, I have found the tempter suggest, What! will you preach this! This condemns yourself; of this your own soul is guilty; so don’t preach any of it; or if you do, mince your words, as to make way for your own escape; lest instead of awakening others, you lay that guilt upon your own soul, that you will never get from under. …It is far better that you judge yourself, even by preaching plainly unto others, than that you, to save yourself, imprison the truth in righteousness.”
So, pastor, preach the Word to yourself first. Then go share with your congregation about what God is dealing with you.