My last entry may have been a little striking for some, especially those who do not know me, or as I do, honestly hallow the Name of Jesus? Yet, when we use His name solely as a means for identifying ourselves as Christians, or as some, with a little more forcefulness and intentional inflection indicate whether left or right, conservative or liberal, we have joined the ranks of the religious, coming across more silly than “peculiar”.
When we stumble into that folly, we devalue His name and given sufficient time Truth is dismantled and the church suffers great loss. We in fact as believers, may have already become far too comfortable using His name in vain?
The litmus test for avoidance of vain use of His name is when lives around us truly change in the marketplaces of our communities. When there is a growing distain at-large for the use of His name, and we ascribe that as simply “end-times” prophecy rather than checking our own effectiveness; or we become defensive of our institutions, even demanding our constitutional rights, both could be symptomatic of our settling for the use of a hollow expression over a more hallowed response to the Name above all Names?
When His Spirit empowers our words and our ways, we then demonstrate the Body of Christ more personally and more powerfully than is possible for any institutional sect to which one might belong. True Christianity is a personal thing, not some mob behavior that takes its strength from numbers.
Someone once said, “being a Christian costs us nothing, yet it costs those around us everything.” The conversation and lifestyle of a single Christ empowered believer should be so starkly different than the norm, that unrighteousness is either convicted or quickly offended. Yet, offense is not our goal, but rather reframing the questions asked about “the hope that is within us.” Truth always reframes the questions asked by non-believers and ultimately glorifies the Lord.
My thoughts go to the soldiers in Gethsemane, who asked Jesus if He were the Christ? His answer was the same as that offered earlier to Moses, as the name of God …”I Am”. The soldiers, at the mention of The Name fell backwards. I would say that moment reframed their question, and though their task was to arrest Him, He arrested them! I often wonder how many of them later became Christ followers post Calvary?
The righteousness of Christ when extended through the believer, affords great privilege. Whatever we loose on earth (are willing to permit) and whatever we bind on earth (setting Kingdom boundaries for the good of mankind) are in faith dealt with likewise in the Heavenlies.
If in our daily lives, we permit things to occur on this earth unbefitting of the Kingdom, great loss is suffered long term. Is not our country’s history with slavery just such a test case for loosing (permitting) evil on the earth as a church? Yet, our contemporary, “presto, pixie dust” prayers, even when offered “in Jesus name”, may not correct those losses in as short order as we have come to believe.
Great suffering may now be necessary to regain those losses, if in fact that is our goal? One thing I know, demanding change in political circles alone will be insufficient, as we, the church must change as well!