Warriors are authorized to handle the most lethal and powerful weapons in the world. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly, and it starts by maintaining a healthy fear of the weapon: respect for its power, clear-headed thinking about proper procedures, and an understanding of its purpose.
This contrasts with an arrogant attitude that causes people to mishandle a weapon. Some don’t respect its power and carelessly point it at other people. Others don’t take the time to understand the proper procedures resulting in malfunctions, injury and even death. Others forget the purpose of a weapon is to support mission accomplishment.
Christians have a responsibility to use their spiritual weapons properly, and one of the most powerful is the name of Jesus.
In Acts 19:11–20, Luke tells us of some amazing miracles Paul was accomplishing in the name of Jesus. Even clothing items that touched him were used to heal diseases and cast out evil spirits. This caught the attention of some spiritual “mercenaries” who thought they could use the name of Jesus without proper authorization and training.
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’”
They tried to use the power and authority of Jesus to get rid of a demon. A noble goal but there was a huge problem.
“But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded…. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.”
Speaking the Name of Jesus
Jesus’ name isn’t a secret weapon we can purchase. And it isn’t a part of speech we throw around when we are angry. Like the spiritual mercenaries, you can be sure He won’t let His name be misused for long.
Ask yourself how you handle the name of Jesus:
- As a way to vent your anger or frustration?
- As a way to show others how spiritual you are, especially in your prayers?
- As a way to make a selfish desire seem more spiritual?
- As a way to help others without dealing with your own issues?
- As a way to strong-arm God into acting as your puppet?
Jesus is ready to authorize and train us to use His name properly, but authorization only happens when you have a personal relationship with Him. Do you really know and love Him? If not, ask Him to show Himself clearly to you today and then talk to a trusted friend, pastor, or chaplain. Once you know Him, then you can improve on how you handle His name.
How to handle the name of Jesus correctly:
- Focus on His purpose — All authority in heaven and on earth is given to Him and He tells us to go and make disciples in His name.
- Focus on His power — Use His name so that it brings attention to Him and not you.
- Focus on His procedures — Read and study His Word to remain clear-headed and accomplish His good works through His name (2 Timothy 3:15–17).
Jesus, forgive me for times I have mishandled Your name for my own purposes and my own glory. Help me to understand and change how I use Your name so I can do it for the right reasons and in the right way.