Getting Real; March 14, 2020

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.

This whole chapter is solidly practical, spelling out in concrete terms how God’s truth is to be lived out in our daily lives. The Bible is actually not very friendly toward “ivory tower” theologians, or even academics of any sort. Paul was very well educated, with the equivalent of doctoral or even post-doctoral studies, but he knew from experience that if the truth he had learned wasn’t lived out in daily life, it wasn’t worth the papyrus, much less parchment, it was written on. That lesson seems to be lost on many academics of all sorts today, who seem more in love with their theories than with the real people on whom they inflict them. I remember from my college days when we would occasionally tell each other to “get real,” meaning to move from the theoretical to the practical. God gave us the ultimate example of “getting real” when He sent His Son to be born as a human baby, to live and grow just as we do with all that means, and then to take the penalty on Himself for all the sins we have committed or will ever commit. When that reality really breaks through into our hearts and minds, then the things Paul wrote in this chapter follow completely naturally. In considering this particular verse, it’s important to remember that in the culture of the day, doing something “in someone’s name” meant doing it in harmony with their character and will. We tend to overlook that when we tack “In Jesus’ Name” onto whatever we happen to ask for in prayer. Here Paul is telling us to live every part of our lives in harmony with Jesus Christ, which means doing it under the guidance of and by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are doing that, all the theories and all the rules are irrelevant, because we are in Christ and He is in us.

This certainly applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I have done plenty of “deep thinking,” pondering all sorts of theology and any number of other things, but the longer I live, the more I realize it’s the practical obedience to God that counts, and really, nothing else. I am in a sense amused by the people who are so incensed by things Donald Trump says (and tweets), all the while they are enjoying and profiting from the things he has actually done. I am a man of words, but if my life, my actions, don’t line up with the truth I speak, then my words are useless. American Evangelical Christianity has focused on “the sinner’s prayer” to the point of making it seem magical, with no real heart change called for. I must not be like that, but remember what John the Baptist said: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Luke 3:8) Jesus likewise said a lot about backing up our words with our actions. (eg. Luke 6:46) I need to live out the truth I know and teach others to do likewise, so that we may be the disciples that Jesus desires. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed do and say everything in perfect harmony with my Lord Jesus, giving You the thanks and praise that You deserve, so that Your truth may be manifested in and through me, drawing many into Your kingdom for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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