TO CHEW ON: "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
In Colossians 3:1-16 Paul gives his readers back in Colosse and us now, a list of specifics—ways to act Christianly:
- control your thoughts (Colossians 3:1-4).
- stop responding to sinful urges (Colossians 3:5-6).
- clean up your speech (Colossians 3:8,9).
- become blind to race, adherence to religious practices like circumcision, and social status among Christian brothers and sisters (Colossians 3:10,11).
- adopt the right attitude toward fellow believers being quick to forgive, and governed by love (Colossians 3:12-14).
- cultivate peace and gratitude in your own heart (Colossians 3:14,15).
- spend so much time in the word that it flows from your lives (Colossians 3:16).
In verse 17, it's as if Paul is saying, 'If I've forgotten anything'—"And whatever you do in word or deed"—it's included in this command: "... do all in the name of the Lord Jesus..."
- Doing something in someone's name is to act as their representative or stand-in. In a way, this verse is another way of phrasing the popular saying, What Would Jesus Do?
- Acting in someone's name has overtones of authority. A policeman who levies fines and makes arrests doesn't do this in his own name but in the name of the government that employs him. In Acts we see an interesting example of two parties using the authority of Jesus name to exorcise evil spirits (Acts 19:11-17).
- There is also an ambassador-type relationship implied. As people who call ourselves Christians (Christ-ones) and in this way identify with Jesus, we are ambassadors of the kingdom He represents and is establishing—the kingdom of heaven.
What an awesome privilege—to live ("whatever you do in word or deed") in the name of the Lord Jesus. At the same time it's sobering. This verse becomes a kind of screen through which we can sift all our words and actions, asking: Is this thing I am planning to say, write or act on, something I can do in the name of Jesus?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please remind me of these words and how I am to live in Your name as I go through the activities of this day. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.