Gracefully Truthful

Cross,Follow,God,Holy Spirit,Jesus,Kingdom,Pursue,Salvation,Truth

Read His Words Before Ours!

Exodus 20:1-17
Leviticus 19:11-12
Matthew 5:33-37
Matthew 16:24-28

“Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.” (Exodus 20:7)

Even at a young age, I thought the ten commandments were . . . weighty. In particular, the commandment to not misuse the Lord’s name felt so trivial when paired with the commandments not to covet, or kill.

As a child, I understood this commandment to mean we should never use the Lord’s name when cursing. That’s not incorrect, exactly, but as I’ve walked with the Lord, I have come to realize I did not truly grasp the heart and gravity behind the words.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus spoke plainly with His disciples about what it means to follow Him: to deny self, pick up his individual cross, and move forward in pursuit of His example. In other words, Jesus was saying the choice to follow Him has nothing to do with word, and everything to do with deed. 

Don’t miss the message here, Love. This is the very crux of our walk and in wild opposition to all the enemy longs for us to believe.

A life fully surrendered to God is a life poured out as an offering.

The way of the cross guarantees rejection from the world and all those still clinging to it. It’s a life bound by Kingdom Truth, rather than what we perceive as our own “truth.” A life of faith, regardless of feelings.

Jesus didn’t utter one word carelessly. Every word He spoke held all the authority and fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven. He wasn’t saying salvation would be made possible through works. Instead, He was illustrating the trajectory His own earthly life would take. He was giving the disciples a roadmap. 

Jesus was teaching them what it would look like to take up the name of the Lord and become a follower of Jesus Christ.

When I think about taking the name of the Lord in that manner, it’s hard not to think about what happens when a man and woman enter into a marriage.

Of course, there is a ceremony of some kind. Family, and sometimes friends, join together to celebrate and witness the couple exchange vows. The couple will move into a home together. Most of the time, the bride will assume the groom’s last name. A bride who takes her husband’s last name still retains her identity, but something is added to her.

From now on, when she writes her signature, or meets new people, she is known by her new name. She becomes a “Mrs.,” rather than a “Miss.” She resides in a different home. She has new responsibilities, and a new family role. There are new blessings, and new challenges.

Literally everything about her life is changed. 

But what would it be like if she married her betrothed, and changed her last name . . . but still signed her unmarried name? What if she never updated her driver’s license, or never moved into a new home with her husband, or didn’t step into her new role at all? What if she continued to live as an individual, and did not enter into the spousal partnership which accompanies marriage? What if she remained exactly the same as before she married?

The marriage would be pointless, powerless, and a sham, right?

Beloved, this is what Jesus was illustrating to His disciples and us!

He was showing us that when we choose to surrender our lives to Him and follow Him, we must recognize He wants to transform us into the likeness of Christ. 

God’s heart has never changed.
Not from the beginning, when He hovered over the surface of the deep,
to when He gave Moses the ten commandments and the rest of the laws,
to when He gave His life for us on the cross,
to when He was resurrected and defeated death and the grave,
to right now, this very minute.

He invites all of us to take His name, and be transformed by the work of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. To live a life worthy of our calling, and to uphold the Name above every other name. 

The only Name by which we are saved!

Abba, You are worthy of all glory, honor and praise. I repent of holding on to areas and things You are calling me to release. Today, I lay __________ at Your holy feet. Forgive me for my sin, and wash me clean. Help me to change my mind and behavior in response to the work You are doing in my heart, mind, and life. I don’t want to be Yours in name only. I want my life to be a place where You can move freely. My heart, mind, life, and everything I have belongs to You. Thank You for all You are doing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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