That issue was how to get beyond what was, at best, kidding around, and at worse, outright deceit, among certain members of the youth group in their dealings with other members. And what was his solution to the problem? Just this: he encouraged us to look the individual telling us whatever was in question directly in the eye and to ask them, “Can you say that to me in Jesus’ name?”
Soon, we were following up virtually every conversation involving some tidbit of gossip with the inevitable question: “In Jesus’ name?” Needless to say, once this happened, the gossip, the exaggeration, the embellishment, the deceitfulness, and the outright lying all quickly stopped.
Why was this so? Precisely because we all knew better than to affirm something in Jesus’ name if we had any doubt whatsoever that it might not be true. I have kept that well-learned lesson with me for over forty years now; and it has served me very well. Indeed, putting this principle into place will soon all but guarantee that telling the truth becomes a way of life by which one learns to live.
Now, I get that the phrase “In Jesus’ Name”, whether put in the form of a question or a statement, may not resonate with you in this way. But even if not, chances are it still has significance. After all, the vast majority of Christians end their prayers with some such similar phrase.
Perhaps all of this is why a recent piece published by “Lead Like Jesus” caught my eye. Their September 17, 2021 devotional reads as follows:
“To many people today, the words ‘in Jesus' name’ are tacked on at the end of a prayer before saying ‘Amen.’ Yet the book of Acts tells a different story. The early disciples boldly stepped out to serve in Jesus' name. In Jesus' name, people were forgiven, healed, restored, baptized and commissioned. What about you? Is Jesus' name just a catch phrase for you? Or does His name compel you to serve others as He did and carry His message to others?”
Wow! What a novel thought! “In Jesus’ Name” is not just something that should accompany our prayers. It should also accompany our thoughts, our words, and our actions! Personally, I was quite convicted by this notion.
And thus, I concur with the concluding prayer offered by the good folks over at www.leadlikeJesus.com:
“Jesus, I don't want to speak Your name in vain, nor do I want to live in vain. I want Your name to be the impulse for every desire and every deed in my life. Fan this longing into flame, and let my life bring glory to You. I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.”