Colossians 3:17. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Does union with Christ permeate your whole life? It’s supposed to. To be in Christ and to have Christ in you should mean that whatever we do, we do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
At the center of every other religion we will find a detailed code of ethics. A list of rules to follow. Duties to perform. Principles to follow. Ten commandments. Five pillars. An eight-fold path to enlightenment. But not so in Christ. At our center is a person, not a set of principles. Not a list of duties. Principles may be helpful at times, and duties may be honorable, but the Christian life is not ultimately guided by any such lists. The Christian’s life is guided simply by Christ’s life – the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of us would love a list of “Do’s and Don’ts.” And many of us probably see Christianity as another one of many religious systems that all lead to God. But the truth is that neither Jesus nor his Apostles gave us detailed instructions (like the Mosaic law code) on how to respond in specific situations. What foods to eat. What music to listen to. What to wear. Where to live. Where to work. Am I allowed to do this? Am I not allowed? What would a good Christian do? And so (often in frustration) we run back to the law for guidance, or we create our own new law code (traditions or “Christian principles”) to follow. Or we ask “What Would Jesus Do?” All hoping to hear a specific answer to our internal cry of “Just tell me what to do!”
But what Christ gives us is far better. He gives us a mindset. His own mindset. Spiritual wisdom. Instead of being told what to do or not to do, we are told whatever you do, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
In the book of Acts Paul says that “in God we live and move and have our being.” Here in Colossians, he has made it very clear that Christ is the God at the center of our being. Christ is the image of the invisible God, the eternal Son proceeding from the Father (1:15). In him, from him, and to him all things exist (1:16). And all things will be reconciled to him through his cross (1:20). Why? Because Christ is all and in all (3:11).
But how do we bring the supremacy of Christ out of the clouds and down to earth? Here’s how – Whatever you, in word or deed, do everything in his name. Live FROM Christ’s authority. His love. His glory. His grace. And live FOR Christ’s authority. His love. His glory. His grace. Let every part of your life flow from him and to him. This is our mindset. Our spiritual wisdom. Our heart’s desire that has become our ethic.
Are you still hoping to be told WHAT to do by Jesus? Or are you ready to move into being able to do WHATEVER from and for Jesus?
Maybe asking yourself these questions about the whatever that you are doing can help:
- Does this whatever in any way degrade, defame, or disregard the name of Christ – his authority and character?
- Does this whatever violate my own Spirit led conscience?
- Can I give God thanks for this whatever?
OK, we’ve eliminated all the explicitly sinful stuff.
Now the question isn’t CAN this whatever be done in the name of Jesus, but HOW CAN this whatever be done in the name of Jesus? For example: HOW CAN watching movies, listening to music, shooting hoops, playing video games, eating ice cream, going to work, taking a nap, camping, etc. be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?
4. How does this whatever remind me of and help me to reflect Christ’s authority, or his love, or his grace, or his glory?
And literally, almost every whatever we do in life, can bring us into the presence of Christ through one of these four portals – his authority, love, grace, or glory. And almost every whatever we do can be done to reflect Christ through the same – his authority, love, grace, and glory.
Learning to do whatever we do this way will take lots of thought and lots of practice. This is a habit of the mind that must be formed over time. But we have the mind of Christ. We have the power of the love of God by the indwelling Spirit of God. We don’t need another list. We don’t need more regulations and principles. We have exactly what we need. The life of Jesus, his heart, his desires, his affections becoming our own. We have “to live is Christ.”
Do you want someone to tell you what to do?
You in Christ
How does knowing we are in Christ allow us to live from a mindset rather than from a list of rules?
Christ in you
What might you do in the name of the Lord Jesus today?
Playlist: The Name of Jesus.