“And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.“ (Colossians 3:17).
I’ve just come back from a mission trip to Liberia in West Africa, a nation destroyed by civil war in the 1990s and more recently ravaged again by Ebola. Our team spent a week preaching the gospel, doing leadership training, working with women, children and teenagers, and holding medical clinics. There were eight of us in the team, each with different skills and specialisms, which we all used to one purpose, which was to share the love of Jesus wherever we went, in word and deed. We had a full schedule, and our trip was focused and fruitful. We used different ministries effectively. I think we could say, with some confidence that it was a fulfilment of the injunction of Colossians 3:17: “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.”
I have mentioned this, not to draw attention to our ministry, but to use it as a model of what we are called to be doing all the time. We are not our own, but were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20), commissioned to be on mission all the time wherever we are. We have different gifts and ministries, but they are all devoted to one goal, which is for the body of Christ to become “a perfect man“ (Ephesians 4:13) and for the Kingdom Of God to come on Earth as we live through Him and do everything in His name according to Colossians 3:17.
If someone wants to do something in my name, I would want it to be done as if I were doing it; if not, I would not want my name on it. To do something “in Jesus name,“ not does not mean just to use the phrase like a rubber stamp on all our prayers and proclamations, but to live and speak in such a way that Jesus is happy to have His name on what we say and do. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes: “For us there is one God, the father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.“ (1 Cor 8:6). If we live through Him, that means He’s touching everything we do, and everything we do can be a path from heaven to earth. If He isn’t touching everything we do, we aren’t living through Him.
One of the biggest problems in Liberia is the lack of roads. One of the greatest empires in the history of mankind was the roman empire. The Romans built a civilisation by building the roads first: once the roads were down, people and supplies could travel to build and strengthen communities. Without the roads, communities in Liberia remain weak and isolated.
Jesus is coming back soon: how well are we building His roads? The gospel is being preached to all nations: the Queens’s evangelistic funeral service was attended by the heads (or their representatives) of all but two of the world’s nations, and now the TV series “The Chosen” is being watched by millions. End time prophecy is being fulfilled, the world is going up in smoke , global warming has already gone past tipping point, and no policy or man can fix it. Our call is to prepare the Way of the Lord and make His paths straight: this is the work of the Holy Spirit through us. Our lives are His paths: every day, every moment, is an opportunity for Him to travel from heaven through us. What are His paths in our lives like: straight, like Roman roads, ready for him to bring his supplies at a moment’s notice; or are they potholed unsurfaced tracks that leave His kingdom unfinished and His people impoverished and incomplete?
As the apostle Francis of Assisi (1181-1226 AD) is often quoted as saying: “Preach the gospel at all times, and use words if necessary.” So many of us are full of knowledge, and consequently full of words; but knowledge puffs up and does nothing to build the roads. Only love edifies. Whatever we do in love will have His name on it, and nothing else will make His paths straight.
One thought on “Prepare Ye the way the Lord! Make His paths straight.”
When Jesus returns to bring Salvation to those who have endured until the end, we shall reign with Him on the New Earth. This Earth was cursed from the time of the Fall.
God is Sovereign but He allows Satan and a third of His angels (who fell before the Fall) to roam the Earth. Satan is prince of this world but God is in control and is Sovereign.
If you turn from God or deny His existence persistently, He will allow you to go your own way (with Satan and his demons) – obviously, this will lead to idolatry, immorality and Hell.