And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)
We are made new men (or new women) in Jesus Christ out of the free gift of His grace. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead works in the believer, bringing new life and a new heart. The changes of the new life don’t happen all at once, and the changing isn’t complete until we are glorified in heaven.
The new man needs instruction. He is ready to learn and instinctively wants to obey God, so he wants to be taught. That’s why the Bible gives new men and new women practical instruction on how to live – what to do and what not to do.
Every once in a while we read a wonderful summary statement, something that is easily remembered as a solid guide to how we should live as new men and women in Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:17 is one of those statements.
It first speaks to whatever you do in word or deed. That covers just about everything; every word spoken, every deed done. God cares about them all.
Here is what God wants us to do with every word and every deed: do them all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Simply said, the new man (or woman) lives his life, all his life, for Jesus. They are only interested in doing the things that can be done according to the character of Jesus, consistent with the honor of Jesus, and with the heart of Jesus. The new man only wants to do things that Jesus could put His name on, that Jesus would endorse.
This gives a wonderful guide for the tough choices we sometimes face. We wonder if something should be permitted or denied in our life. Ask the question: “Could Jesus put His name to this? Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus?” If you apply that to every word you speak and every deed you do, you will have a good guide.
You can only know that if you know something of Jesus, and the only truly reliable place to learn Jesus is from God’s word, especially the four gospels. The better you know Jesus through His word, the better you will be able to do everything in word and deed in His name.
For certain, sometimes you will get it wrong. Yet even in those times God will see and honor your heart, if the true goal was to say and do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The last aspect of this to think about is that we also do everything giving thanks to God the Father through Him. We say and do all things with an attitude of gratitude to God, remembering all He has done in the past and all He promises for the future. In the past, present, and future we all have reasons to be thankful.