The preacher preaches a message. The message matters. So does the preacher.
There has to be a consistency and integrity between the preacher and the good news that is being proclaimed. The preacher should, even in their demeanour and manner, evidence that the Spirit is at work in their life. The fruit of the Spirit should, by definition, show.
Joy – A bond is created between listener and speaker when there is a sense that the speaker is enjoying what they are doing. After all, the list of gifts piles up when we start talking about preaching. The gift of the learning, the gift of the preaching skill, the gift of the listeners, the gift of the opportunity. Many gifts should combine with real gratitude to manifest in an attitude marked by joy.
But the joy has to be genuine. There is something hollow about comedians who act joyful, but everyone knows their private life is in turmoil and they are depressed. Such an act, even if entertaining, is profoundly sad. The preacher should not be faking joy. Rather, there should be a joy in lovingly serving the listeners, and there should be a greater joy in walking with the Lord whom we preach.
Peace – The preaching of the Word should promote relational harmony, the kind of shalom we see all over the Bible. The enemy would love to undermine this and apparently he has been somewhat successful – churches are known as battlegrounds, instead of places of genuine peace. The church should not be a venue where people pretend to get along. Rather, the preaching of the Word should promote the flourishing of genuine relationships.
The preacher’s attitude should convey this fruit of the Spirit. Preaching is not a place to score points or land blows. A warlike attitude should not characterize our preaching, no matter what may be going on in a church. There are times when this will be challenging. Perhaps only by praying through a situation thoroughly before preaching can we guard against our inner angst coming through. Maybe that is in line with what Paul was urging in Galatians 5 – walk in step with the Spirit, otherwise we will gratify another set of desires.
If we come across as preachers gripped by a sombre and/or contentious spirit, something is going wrong.