Let Your Actions Mirror Your Speech


I remember having a conversation with my dad about parenting styles and how to lead my kids. We distilled it down to three different ways of leading: 1) There are those parents who lead by example, 2) There are parents who lead by telling their kids what to do and how to live, and 3) There are those who do both. Without a doubt, the third style tends to be the most effective, as a person will follow someone whose actions mirror his or her speech.

  • How do you lead those God has placed under your authority? Are you all talk and no action? Do you act but no one knows why? Or do people see the difference in you because your actions mirror your speech?


13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. In verse 16, what city did Paul decide to sail past? Knowing that Paul had spent a great amount of his ministry in Ephesus, what was his reasoning for bypassing this city entirely?
  2. Did Paul entirely ignore those with whom he had spent so much of his ministry?
  3. List the things that Paul reminded the Ephesian elders he had done while in their presence (vss. 19-21).
  4. What was Paul’s purpose in reminding the church leaders from Ephesus about how he lived among them?
  5. Are you living in such a way where your actions and speech match up? Would someone who knows you say that the way you live your life mirrors your speech? Why or why not?


Paul led in a way where his actions reflected his teachings. In his speech to the elders from Ephesus—one of the only recorded speeches of Paul in Scripture—he talked about how he lived when he was among them. He talked about walking in humility, shedding tears for those he was ministering to. He also talked about how he proclaimed God’s Word, whether it was in a public square or in private setting. What an incredible reminder to give these leaders from the church of Ephesus. What a call to continue to live life not just in words, but actions as well—a life that reflects the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

  • Pray that God would give you the boldness to act on what you say, that the gospel truth you proclaim would be mirrored in the way you walk with him.