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“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People.
I like to call people by name. Whether it is a waitress in a restaurant or ticket booth worker at the State Fair, I think using someone’s name is a sign of respect. My experience has been when I use someone’s first name; I get a little better service or sometimes even make someone else’s day a little better.
Names are powerful. Countless studies and antidotal examples demonstrate that greeting someone by name is enjoyable, engaging, and communicates, “You matter to me.” Business writers like Dale Carnegie have consistently declared the power in using someone’s name.
In our gospel this weekend John tells Jesus that someone is using Jesus’ name to drive out demons. A lot more happens in this gospel, but let’s just stop with this fact. This mysterious exorcist is driving demons out of possessed people simply by uttering Jesus’ name. How powerful is Jesus’ name? It has power over supernatural beings.
Obviously Jesus has power over all creation, including the supernatural, but even his name holds incredible power. Philippians 2:9-10 says, “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
The reason that using God’s name in vain is on the list of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:7) is because God’s name holds power. To use God’s name is to call upon God. Even just saying the name “Jesus” is a prayer because saying it is calling out for Jesus to be near us.
This got me thinking; how often do I even speak the name of Jesus? I was raised to never use God’s name in vain, and have tried to raise my kids that way. But how often do I actually call upon Jesus? How often do I rely on Jesus in my day to day? Have my children ever seen me really turn towards Jesus in good and in bad times? Our home has crosses and crucifixes on the wall, but do we ever talk about them?
My kids know I pray, but I’m not sure they know how much I rely on Jesus.More than that, how much do I rely on Jesus? Maybe one reason the name of Jesus isn’t uttered often enough in my home is because I don’t turn to him enough. I want my children to have a deep, beautiful, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I want them to know, love, and serve God. I also know that faith is “caught” not “taught.” I can tell my children to do or have something, but if I have don’t have it or do it myself, it probably won’t stick with them.
The good news is that the solution to my probably is found in the problem itself. The best thing to do when I need to rely on Jesus more is to ask Jesus to help me rely on him more. The way to say the name of Jesus is to say his name while asking for the grace to fill our homes with the goodness of his name.
Is your home full of the name of Jesus? Do you rely on the power of Jesus’ name?
Challenge for this week: Say Jesus’ name 3 times in front of others. Obviously, use Jesus’ name positively and intentionally. You can drop Jesus name in prayer or in casual conversation.