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There are times when I think that the authors of Scripture go a little overboard, end up sounding a little extreme. For example, Paul writes to the Philippians that we should do “nothing from selfishness” and that we should consider others as “more important” than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). That sounds extreme! Why couldn’t he have said “don’t do much from selfishness” or consider others “as important” as you think of yourself? Of course I am being a little facetious, but nevertheless the extreme nature of what he says staggers me. He allows no exception clauses, no passes, no exemptions.

The same thing kind of thing catches me when I listen carefully to what Paul writes to the Colossians:

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17)

It is easy for me to read this as if Paul were saying:

When you minister, do it “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

When others are watching, make sure what you are doing is “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

When in public, be careful that your words and actions are “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

In conversation with others, make sure you make it clear that you want to live “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

When you want to feel “spiritual,” give into living “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

In a previous post we explored what it means to say and do what we do “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” It’s not about tacking those words on to the end of our praying or to ask him to bless the things we do. To act or speak in the name of the Lord Jesus is to act or speak in a way that makes much of Jesus, that falls in line with his desires and character, that participates with him in what he is doing in the world.

It’s the “whatever you do in word or deed” that catches me up–that’s the no exceptions, no passes, no exemptions dimension of what Paul is saying.

And that drives me to ask:

In my “free time,” when no one is watching, am I doing all I am doing “in the name of the Lord Jesus”?

Although no physical eyes might be one me, am I aware that angels–both fallen and good–are watching to see whether I really am intending to live life “in the name of the Lord Jesus”?

If in my personal moments I am not living “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” what am I living for? What is taking precedence in such moments if it is not Jesus and what he wants, how he lives?

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for this post that is reinforcing what the Spirit has been speaking to my heart this morning. Lord please take the meditations of my heart and turn them to Yourself today. I ask the same for my brothers and sisters.

    • In Pursuit of Grace
    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 10:18 am
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    Thank you….how sweet is the truth…it brings a sting with it to my heart this morning. I have not been living into the Spirit or living in the name of the Lord this week…despite my heart’s desire to do so. But with the sting of the truth comes greater grace…oh how sweet…

  2. Yes, there is a bit of a sting to these thoughts . . . in my own soul, too! But it feels like a welcome sting, like antiseptic on a wound. Oh that the Lord would continue to free us from lesser joys that keep us from pursuing our great joy in Him!

    • In Pursuit of Grace
    • Posted February 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm
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    Oh what lesser things I have chosen lately…how beautiful grace is in light of my weary soul…May He be glorified in his abundant mercy toward me…underserved, yet freely given time and time again…I can barely speak

  3. Following Jesus in the 1st Century was an extreme thing to do. I wonder if in our society it is even more extreme.
    Thanks Brian.


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