Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Do it All in The Name of Jesus

Dear Friends,

Once upon a time, when I was a productive member of society, I had a nice “executive” type office that made me appear to be important. But as an indicator of my true importance, I needed to have a large brass nameplate on my desk in order to remind people what my name was. Think about it. Does the President’s desk in the Oval Office have a nameplate with his name on it?

But what I found to be constantly annoying about my nameplate was the nagging scripture that someone.. okay it was me.. put on the back. If my name on the front reminded people who I was, the scripture on the back reminded me of who God wanted me to be. And really..did I need to see the disingenuous dichotomy between the front and back of my nameplate? Apparently so. 

The front of the nameplate had my name in  polished cast bronze letters. Formal. Solid. Conveying the weightiness of authority. The reverse side displayed that pesky Bible verse: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17) and constantly reminded me of when the front-facing image I conveyed to others did not match up with my stumbling Christian walk.

When the Apostle Paul said that we need to do everything in the name of the Lord, he really, really meant that. The Greek original can be rendered literally: “And everything, whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything (note the repetition) in the name of Lord Jesus..” This was not a slip of the quill or a careless repetition. Paul wants to make sure we truly get this.

You and I obviously know we’re not supposed to lie, steal, engage in sexual immorality and murder people. That’s the easy part! But then Paul threw in this commandment to cover everything else. To show us how to handle the gray areas in life. Things that are legal and lawful for us to do. Things not sinful. Things that are acceptable for society to do. But how about for me to do? Is it okay to tell that joke? Flirt with the waitress? Eat that extra piece of cake? Make that snide comment? Pretend I don’t see Jose walking through the plaza because I’m tired of listening to his complaints about his unloving wife and spoiled kids? Too many times I’d want to take the satisfying or easy way and that intrusive verse would remind me that everything I do is done in Jesus name. And that changes things.

All of life is embraced in our words and actions and a true follower of Jesus lives their life in His name being conscious of His authority. Living in accord with the name of Jesus means being in harmony with His revealed will for our lives.

The bottom line is this: When evaluating those “gray” areas in our speech and behavior, we should not permit anything in our lives that should not be associated with the name of Jesus. Think about the enormity of that for a moment and you’ll see why I keep referring to this one verse as “pesky,” “annoying” or “intrusive”!

Everything is done for His glory and in His name. Paul also wrote something similar to the Romans when he told them that we offer ourselves as a perfect living sacrifice to Him and glorify Him with all that we are and all that we do. (Romans 12:1-2)

And then after we are reminded that all our words and actions must line up with His perfect will for our lives, we read that we must do so with thanksgiving to the Lord. Let's thank God for His grace and mercy when we do miss the mark, and thank Him at the same time for so clearly telling us what our Christian walk needs to look like!  Amen?

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