“Whatsoever ye 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). Here I get the whole course of everyday life. There are constantly difficulties that I find in passing through this world. I say, Ought I to do this thing or that, or not? I am uncertain as to the right course, or I may find great hindrances to doing what I think to be right. Now, if ever I find myself in doubt, my eye is not single; my whole body is not full of light, therefore my eye is not single. God brings me into certain circumstances of difficulty until I detect this. It may be something that I never suspected in myself before which hinders me from seeing aright; but it is something between me and Christ, and until that is put away I shall never have certainty as to my path. Therefore “whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This will settle nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand. If you are questioning whether you shall do a thing or not, just ask yourself, Am I going to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus? It will settle it at once.
Thus if a person says, What harm is there in my doing such and such a thing? I ask, Are you going to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus? Perhaps it may be something of which you will answer at once, Of course not. Then it is settled at once. It is the test of the state of the heart. If my eye is single, if the purpose of my heart is all right, I get here what settles every question—it tests my heart. I wanted to know the right path, and it is as simple as A-B-C. If my heart is not upon Christ, I shall endeavour to do my own will; and this is not God’s will. There is the constant uniform rule which clearly judges every path and circumstance. Am I simply doing it in the name of the Lord Jesus?
But what do I find with it? “Giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” In another place it is said, “In everything give thanks.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18.) Where my heart can take Christ with me, my mind is on God, and I can say, “He is with me,” even if it is tribulation. I have got the path of God, I have got Christ with me in my path, and I would rather be there than in what is apparently the fairest and pleasantest thing in the world. As it is said in Psalm 84, “In whose heart are the ways of them.”
This chapter (Colossians 3) begins with the great truth, that we are dead and risen with Christ—the judgment of the old man absolutely and completely, and our reckoning it practically to be dead. People have talked about dying to the flesh, and of its being a slow death, etc., which is all nonsense. It is a simple fact that is true already; and if I died with Christ, I shall live with Him. It is the power of this that works in my soul. The root of all Paul’s doctrine is, that we have been crucified with Him (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20), and have died with Him (Romans 6:8); and it is not now we who live, but Christ that lives in us. Then Christ becomes the object of this life. Having laid that ground—that the old man is put off and the new man put on (Colossians 3:9â€‘10), which is Christ—he draws the consequence of the blessing in which we stand, and the fruits which spring from Him; and then there is this simple but blessed rule for him that is in earnest—to do nothing but what can be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.
One great thing here practically put before us is this—Christ is all. He is in all; but this is the great thing we have to look to, Is He practically all? Can you honestly say, Though a poor weak creature, notwithstanding that, I am not conscious of having a single other object in the world but Christ? You find many difficulties, you are not watchful enough, your faith is feeble, you know your short-comings; but can you, notwithstanding all this, honestly say, I have no object in the world but Christ?
First, the root of all is Christ as the life; then we pass over to the outward conduct in the man’s walk. And let me remark, that while a person may be walking outwardly uprightly and blamelessly, it may be very feebly as a Christian, and without spirituality. You will find many a true Christian who has Christ as his life, and nothing to reproach him with as to his walk, and yet is not spiritually-minded. (Romans 8:6; 1 Corinthians 3:1.) You talk to him about Christ, there is nothing that answers. There is, between the life that is at the bottom and the blamelessness that is at the top, between him and Christ, a whole host of affections and objects that are not Christ at all. How much of the day, or of the practice of your soul, is filled up with Christ? How far is He the one object of your heart? When you come to pray to God, do you never get to a point where you shut the door against Him? where there is some reserve, some single thing in your heart, that you keep back from Him? If we pray for blessing up to a certain point only, there is reserve; Christ is not all practically to us.