Life in the Name of the Lord Jesus

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

When you are convinced that God loves you no matter what, that every sin has been forgiven, that death is just a door opening to better things in heaven, that conviction invades and infects every corner of your life. It changes your point of view. Here Paul sees it changing every word and movement, too: “whatever you do, in word or deed.”

We could say it is the natural consequence of a heart full of the peace, a faith confident of God’s grace in Christ, but there is nothing natural about it at all. It is spiritual and supernatural in every way. Still, there is a certain logic to the difference this makes in our lives.

Let’s say that you are the poor unfortunate soul who has to work behind the customer service counter at some department store the day after Christmas. It’s going to be a long day. In front of you is a line that stretches to infinity. No one in line is particularly happy. It didn’t fit. It doesn’t work. It’s just plain ugly.

Now you didn’t manufacture any of this stuff. You weren’t the salesman who talked grandpa and grandma into buying it. But you know that maybe every fourth or fifth person in line is going to treat you like it’s your fault. If your heart is more or less spiritually empty, you may tolerate this for a little while. Maybe you can make it to the end of the day without snapping. It’s a job, after all, and you’ve been trained to make the customer happy. But maybe you’ll be a little snippy with the malcontents by the afternoon. Maybe you’ll bite someone’s head off when you get home.

Enter the peace of Christ. If your heart is full with the good news that God loves you unconditionally in spite of your faults and failings, you are secure in who you are as God’s child. What’s a little irritation from someone whose kid’s new iPad won’t work when you know that God turns everything for your good? You know that he is constantly smiling on you, and that you’ve got a place in the most exclusive neighborhood ever, called heaven. Everything is good.

You can look at the people coming to you like Jesus once looked at the crowds coming to him. He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. That would be doing what you do “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” because now you are acting like him.

That’s the kind of life that gives “thanks to God the Father…” because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That’s the kind of thing that happens when the God’s word changes our hearts, Jesus rules in them by faith, and we know his peace. That can change our words or deeds in a thousand different ways every day. That is life “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

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