We all have them, every year, and have God to thank each time they roll around. I had my 53rd recently. No big deal; 53 is not a special number, just another prime number with no sexy or spiritually metaphoric spin. One of those numbers that once paralyzed baristas in the new era of copper-less currency (is it 50 cents or 55 cents?) until they programmed the cash registers to do the hard math.
But still, it was my day, so I relished the well wishes that flooded social media for a couple of hours from true friends and followers. And while many were expressing hope that I would have a great day, some people actually took time to reflect on our relationship and offered true words of encouragement.
I read some of these testimonies to my wife as we were enjoying our Sunday morning coffee. After a brief period of silence, my wife made a simple yet powerful observation: “those are great words of encouragement, Phil, but just think how much more meaningful and life changing those words could be if they were spoken. How many people out there are craving affirmation and acceptance yet never hear such words that could make all the difference in their world?”
Too much goes unsaid.
My mind went to Matthew 5:13, 14 where Christ exhorts the disciples to personify a life committed to the cause of Christ, anchored in the promise of salvation and a life eternal, both in word (salt), actions and deeds (light).To manifest the power of salvation in word is to speak into the lives of others in every situation, not from the finite reservoir of our human understanding, empathy or intelligence but from the infinite, limitless reservoir that is the saving Grace of our Lord and Saviour. And when we proclaim the power that is His name we open the door to the infinite, limitless possibilities for God “. . . through His might power at work within us, to accomplish more than we might ask or think.” (Eph 3:20, NLT).
There is a popular quote attributed to St Francis of Assisi states “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” While there is truth in this statement it can (and dare I say, HAS) become an excuse in many circles for “live a good life so people will see goodness” in place of proclaiming the power that comes from speaking His name into any situation. After all, it’s easy to live a good life as measured by world standards, but takes courage, compassion and commitment to be the voice that speaks into the darkness the power of salvation through the name of Jesus. Showing our faith is a must, but it will be found lacking without proclaiming its source. We need to do both. We need to live both.
The group “Jesus Culture” has written a power song “Break Every Chain” that magnifies and lifts up above all else the power that is the Name of Jesus:
“There is power in the name of Jesus,
There is power in the name of Jesus,
There is power in the name of Jesus,
To break every chain,
Break every chain,
Break every chain.”
In Chapter 6 of Priscilla Shirer’s book “God is Able” she reflects on the Apostle Paul’s time in prison where he declared in song (his “prison doxology”) that despite his chains, he believes in the power that reigns in proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ.
The good news is that this power reigns today and changes lives today. We must speak into any situation the name of Jesus –
Speak salvation in the name of Jesus,
Speak forgiveness in the name of Jesus,
Speak hope in the name of Jesus,
Speak restoration in the name of Jesus,
Speak peace in the name of Jesus –
and believe that the power that lives in the name of Jesus will break every chain. It’s not up to us to create change; that is what the Holy Spirit does best. Ours is to speak, to proclaim, to lift above any other name, the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Let’s live, like “a beacon on the hill”, and proclaim, in the Name of Jesus, a life that manifests the greatness of God’s grace in His gift of salvation, in every situation, in every opportunity.