Not Smooth Talkers

1 Thessalonians 2:5-6

We know in an instant when someone is speaking truth from the depth of their soul. When I was teaching students at Dallas Seminary in their preaching classes, it was this true, hot, authentic communication that I wanted them to embody and then live and speak before others. This is far beyond alliterated, clever, three-point outlines or quick turns of phrase. This is when the heart of the communicator is intimately united with the Holy Spirit and lives change from the power that is stronger than the words.

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that if they wanted a skilled orator, the man was Apollos. But no one in the first century besides Jesus communicated divine truth authentically from the depths of his soul more than Paul (1:5).  He reminds the Thessalonians of this as he continues to lay out the example of a preacher we can trust.

“For we never came to you with flattering words, as you well know, or with only appearances that masked covetous and greedy desire. God will verify what I’m saying. We didn’t seek to receive human praise from you or anyone else.”

When I speak to an audience, I want them to like me, and when I’m done, I want them to tell others about what a  good communicator I am. I’m still wrestling with these false motives that do not flow from the Spirit. When this kind of pride controls my preaching and teaching, if the audience likes what I say, then I’m bloated with conceit. When they turn against me, I tell myself I don’t care if I ever preach again. The Spirit constantly brings me back to way the Apostle Paul lived and taught among the Thessalonians. His personal integrity and his message were meshed as one.

LORD, destroy in me those dark passions seeking applause and money. Give me your gift of humility, authenticity, truth, love, and gentleness. Help me to imitate the Apostle Paul so that when people will be drawn totally to you and forget the messenger. 

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!