Dr. Marshall Seper was called “the old country psychologist.” For eleven years his radio program drew a “high listening audience” in mid-America.
He not only popularized psychology but also practiced it successfully. A huge portion of the American public turned to one man for answers to their personal problems—Dr. Seper. And Dr. Seper always seemed to have the answer. Even for the “hard cases,” those who had lost the will to live, Dr. Seper proved very effective. “On the air” he talked numerous suicide callers out of taking their own lives.
Then one Monday morning he got into his red convertible. He drove ten minutes from his home and took out a gun. And killed himself. A fan of his radio program asked the ultimate question: “Why couldn’t he follow his own advice?”
A strange dilemma often befalls those in leadership or instructor positions. They possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise from which they never benefit. Why? Because it’s all intended for “the other guy.” They can devote all their energy to giving the best advice or delivering instruction in the most effective way. But they forget to apply it to their own lives. They dichotomize life into the professional and the personal. But it doesn’t work. We must practice and live what we preach.
Paul the Apostle wrote, “I discipline my body with blows and bring it under complete control, lest while preaching to others I myself may become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).
Dear Father in heaven, I don’t want to be disqualified from life’s race or fail the very principles for which I profess to stand. Please help me to practice what I preach and to first apply my learning to me, before I preach it to others. Amen.