Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.” But I will reply, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” [Matthew 7:20-23 (NLT)]
When my children were younger, there were several occasions that I wanted to pretend I had no idea to whom they belonged! There was that time one noticed (and used) the red emergency stop button on an escalator, or another discovered the meaning of the “domino effect” after pulling over one stanchion at the airport and seeing another ten follow suit, or one managed to be so nasty to the babysitter that she went home in tears, or when hotel security came knocking because of spitballs dropping from the window of our children’s adjoining hotel room. I really didn’t want to admit I knew them, let alone had given birth to them. We expected better from our children and their conduct certainly didn’t bring honor to our name. Unfortunately, their behavior, while unacceptable, was a somewhat unavoidable and unpleasant part of their growing up. Fortunately, those times of boundary testing are long over and I am now proud that they bear my name.
Those thoughts came to me after our visiting pastor opened worship with these words: “May we begin our service as we live our lives—in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” His words lifted me until I felt them convict me. “As we live our lives…” Once home from church, I asked myself if I truly live my life in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or only worship in their names. As they see me throughout the day, can the holy trio proudly say, “That’s our girl—she bears our name!” or, rather than claiming me as one of their own, would they just as soon say I belong to the other team? While I worship and pray in the name of the Holy Trinity, I asked myself if I truly live my daily life in their names. Do any of us? Do we harbor anger and resentment in His name? Do we gossip or slight someone in His name? Do we ignore the homeless or swear at the guy who cut us off in His name? Are we rude to the waitress, curt with our spouse, or impatient with the children in His name? Of course not, but yet we do all of those things and more (at least I do).
Although we pray and worship in the name of the Holy Trinity, prayer and worship are not isolated events. The way we live is our offering to God and our behavior should always bring honor to His holy name. Today and every day, may we truly live our lives as we worship—in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!