[Calvary Chapel] 1999-03-25 - Take the Name of Jesus With You

Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (NAS)

I love music. I love to sing, listen to and learn music. I'm not a professional singer by even the very kindest definition. But I enjoy music from classical to pop to rock, and even some rap, I have to say. I have performed Latin choral masses, classic hymns and contemporary rewrites of hymns and songs. It is not the style that is what drives my liking for a song, it is usually the lyrics. I once heard Amy Grant say, "It's not much good singing unless you've got something good to sing about." I could hardly agree more. The tune supports the lyrics with mood or emotion. But it is what is being said that is my focus.

When Jesus saves us, he begins a total rewrite of the person we are. There is nothing worth keeping, as harsh as that may sound. But it would be like a child's toy piano with the black keys painted on against a freshly tuned grand piano. As we give over sections of our life to Him, He rebuilds it by replacing even the basic parts. It may have to be done in stages, layer at a time. Our life becomes a work in progress. At the start, our old music playing against His will often sound suddenly discordant. As we progress, the periods of harmony and the interaction should progress as well. The things that were once very important to you will fade and be replaced by new priorities with more eternal significance. Symphonies are not written in a single night. We are no different. There will be sudden bursts of growth, and dry periods where things seem to stagnate. These are not always the best or the worst things that can happen. God can use both to teach us and accomplish His purposes in our lives. Be patient. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Phil 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (NASB)

There is an old hymn that starts out "Take the name of Jesus with you...". Christianity is not a thing we do, it is a way of life. It is not what we know, it is Who we know. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ. You can often tell that two people are close friends. They share some habits or expressions from their time together. A Christian will not be able to hide his relationship to Jesus, even if they would want to do so. As followers, even young followers, we become ambassadors for Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Our witness will be with our lives long before it will be with our words. Even if we never speak to someone, our actions will pave or hinder the way for another to speak to that one. We literally take the name of Jesus with us everywhere we go.

I know that for one I am not perfect. I still get angry, and still have many priorities that are not where they will one day be, I need to spend more time in prayer. Some days I probably put down more thorns that I do paving stones, but Jesus goes with me anyway. Everyone around me knows of my relationship with Jesus and watches. Whether I stumble or do well, it is noted - consistency will also be noted. Whether I lend credibility to the claims of the gospel or not depends on how well I represent my Lord. I can try to do this in my own strength and ability, but even if I succeed, I will quickly burn out. Only by relying on Jesus for strength and guidance - returning to my 'President' for further instructions - can I expect to walk the narrow path for more than a short while.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com