Thursday, February 15, 2018
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I have a serious problem. I react negatively when things don’t meet my expectations. I know you do too. My favorite response at such times is “Oh man!” What’s yours?
Several years ago, Colossians 3:17 was my New Year’s resolution. I remember an Elder meeting just four days into the year, when I had ordered some take-out Chinese food. I asked for extra mushrooms in my chicken and snow peas. When I dumped the pint container of sauce onto the rice, I counted three mushrooms. My first response was a disgusted “Oh man!” I immediately caught myself and confessed that sin to the Lord. I then began thanking Him for the meal I was about to eat. I had already failed at fulfilling my resolution.
But growth is a process. One step at a time I will become more thankful, and my life will become more honoring to the Lord Jesus Christ in all areas. At least that was my goal. As I reflect, I’m not sure how much better I am.
I continue to seek to live life according to Colossians 3:17. As I read it again today, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to three words in the exact middle of the verse. Those words are “in the name.”
What does that mean? When we pray in the name of Jesus, what does that really mean? When we are commanded to do and speak all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, what does that mean? It means far more than just stating the name of Jesus at the end of a prayer.
Understanding what it means begins with knowing that a name is a representation of someone. The name itself is just a word, but what that name represents gives it meaning. So, when we say or do anything in the name of someone, those words or actions become of a reflection of what we believe to be true about that person.
Make sure you fully understand the significance of that last statement. Here’s what God taught me as I sought to understand it. It was so significant that I wrote it in the margin of my Bible. It’s an acrostic of the word NAME.
Whatever I do, whatever I say, and whatever I pray, is to be according to the nature of Jesus, the attributes of Jesus, the mission of Jesus, and the exaltation of Jesus. Every activity of my life, every word I speak to others, and every prayer I pray to God is to be a reflection of what I believe to be true about Jesus Christ.
For this to be true about me, I must be willing to continually ask myself some penetrating questions.
- Does this word or activity support my belief that Jesus, in His very nature, is God? Does this word or activity reflect my belief in His sovereignty (He is in control)? His omnipresence (He is everywhere always)? His omniscience (He is all-knowing)? His omnipotence (He is all-powerful)? His immutability (He is unchanging)?
- Does this word or activity support my belief in the attributes of Jesus? Does this word or activity comply with His holiness? His righteousness? His love and compassion? His truth? His grace? His mercy?
- Does this word or activity support my understanding of the mission to which I have been called in Christ Jesus? Does this word or activity represent the Gospel message of the transforming power of Jesus Christ to change my life? Does this word or activity present an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with another person? To make a disciple? To teach others to obey Jesus? To encourage and build up a brother or sister in Christ?
- Does this word or activity exalt the name of Jesus? Does this word or activity reflect a surrendered heart to the will of God for my life? Does this word or activity make much of me, or does it make much of Jesus in me? Does this word or activity glorify God?
Over the next few days we will spend some time on each of those four areas and discover some practical applications of these truths to our everyday lives. But before we do that, each one of us must decide if we are going to take this command seriously.
Are we prepared to live our lives as representations of the Name of Jesus Christ? Are we ready, at any and all cost, to say and do everything in our lives according to what we know to be true about Jesus? And will we do it with thanks to God for the privilege of knowing and serving Him?
My prayer is that you will join me in resolving to live this way.