Today, African Americans, along with our allies, celebrate the newly legislated Juneteenth Holiday in America. Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom that began in Texas and is now celebrated across the United States. The historical legacy of Juneteenth began when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1963, which freed slaves in Confederate states. Although Confederate states received the news that slaves were then free, Texas did not abide by the new legislation until they were forced on June 19, 1865. As I participated in several Juneteenth events over the weekend, I reflected on the fact that as Christians, we do not always live according to the freedom we have in Christ.
The Word of God is the good news that every believer is set free in Christ, and every sinner can be set free. We are no longer slaves to Satan and sin. We are no longer bound by the rules and laws of an evil slave master: We are emancipated. If this is true, why then do many Christians live as though they have not received the good news? Why do many Christians live and behave bound in thinking, bound to a specific geographical area, bound to poverty, or bound in sickness? Jesus is the enforcer of God’s Word. We have all been set free. If we believe in the truth of His Word, and accept and trust His authority, power, and promises, we can live a life of abundance, prosperity, health, and freedom.
For the former slaves in Texas, a path had already been created for their deliverance but an enforcer was needed. The Union soldiers came to share the good news and enforce the fact that the slaves were free indeed. Likewise, God surely created a pathway and an enforcer for the deliverance of mankind. He has shared the good news that every person can truly be free. God desires us to be free from sin, guilt, worry, condemnation, sickness, poverty, and all manner of dis-ease (3 John 1:2). Hear and accept the proclamation of God –for whom the Son sets free, is free indeed (John 8:36).
I pray that you will study the good news and accept the proclamation of freedom in Christ.
Have you ever had the opportunity to be around a name-dropper? You know, an individual that likes to drop the names of famous, influential, or wealthy people. There are several reasons people name-drop, but oftentimes it is to make others believe there is a connection or relationship between themselves and the famous, influential, or wealthy person. Truth is, the latter usually has no knowledge of this relationship. So why then do people name drop? There must be an intrinsic or extrinsic reward; otherwise, why bother. Benefits may include the receipt of special treatment, favors, or reverence from others. It could also be an attempt to establish one’s credibility by claiming affiliation with a certain individual or group. What is so significant about name-dropping, and what does it have to do with purpose, kingdom assignments, or a relationship with God? I’m glad you asked.
Many people believe that just by dropping God’s name they get a pass into heaven, they establish creditability as being affiliated with God, or that they will receive or are due favor or special treatment. Some are misled into believing that simply dropping God’s name makes them part of His kingdom family, that God is pleased with them, or that He co-signs for them. Those who profess to believe and unbelievers alike fall into the deceptive illusion of name-dropping. A deceptive illusion is something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. It is this false reality that is so dangerous for anyone who has determined that heaven will be their eternal retirement destination.
I recall watching various music award shows over the years and noted how winners would pay homage to God for allowing them to achieve such an honor. The recipient would thank God and exclaim the improbability of receiving the award if it had not been for God’s help. Never mind the fact that the award-winning lyrics were laced with profanities, sexual innuendo, and boasts of violent acts. You tell me; does that sound like God? Did God lend the songwriter breath and health every day while creating their music? Yes; however, an act of love and care is not to be confused with approval, acceptance, and relationship. Jesus clearly lets us know that if we are not going to do what He asks, why bother calling His name. Luke 6: 45-46 states:
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaketh. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Now, I would classify these types of artists as non-believers or as new believers who have no knowledge of the expectations of God. However, those who profess to know God and to be on His payroll are not exempt from the deceptive illusion of name-dropping. If you grew up or have been around evangelical or Pentecostal churches, you have heard Psalms 105:15, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” Albeit far from context, I often heard this phrase from believers -mostly preachers and prophets- as a roundabout way of saying they are tight with God and He will revenge anyone that harms His anointed one. This type of name-dropping was often used to manipulate or intimidate, and it is definitely not a message approved by God. What God expects is obedience and relationship: Obedience to His will, not ours, and a committed, not one-sided relationship. Ultimately if we don’t live a life of obedience to Him, it will benefit us nothing to drop His name. Matthew 7:14-23 states:
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, and neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Believers nor unbelievers are exempt from the deceptive illusion of name-dropping. It is important to assess our beliefs, daily living, our works, and our motives in what and who we claim God has co-signed. Unbelievers should first accept God, study His Word to know what is expected of every believer, and learn how to please God. For if our actions do not bear good fruit, we will ultimately be disowned and rejected by Jesus.
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Name dropping is a deceptive illusion that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality
Dropping God’s name to establish credibility, to receive favors or reverence, to intimidate or manipulate, to misrepresent a relationship with God, or to misrepresent approval and acceptance by God will ultimately profit nothing
Not everyone that claims to work in Jesus’ name, or that calls Jesus Lord will enter into heaven
We should examine our daily living, our works, and beliefs and motives to ensure obedience to the Father’s will and that we are known by Him