Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Rejoice that your name is written in heaven

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was one of the most influential evangelical preachers of the twentieth century.

He had been accustomed to preaching several times a week, he had begun a number of important Christian enterprises, and his influence extended through tapes and books to Christians across the world.

When he was dying of cancer, one of his friends asked him how he was coping, not so much with the disease itself, but with not being fully active in Christian Ministry.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ response was an interesting one – He quoted the words of Luke 10:20,

‘…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (Luke 10:20).

In Luke 10 Jesus,

‘…appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’. (V1-2)

When these disciples return from this training mission they marvel with joy,

‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name’. (V.17)

At one level, Jesus encourages them,

‘He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”. (V.18)

And He tells his disciples that they too will witness some astonishing things as they tell people about Him,

‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you’. (V.19)

“However,” he adds (and then come the words quoted by Dr. Lloyd-Jones),

“…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (V.20)

Why did Dr. Lloyd-Jones quote those words when he was dying of cancer and his active Christian ministry was all but over?

It is so easy to rejoice in our success, isn’t it?

Our self-identity often becomes entangled with the fruitfulness of our ministry, and that can be dangerous when the success turns sour.

But that is not the problem in Luke 10.

Things could not be going better for Jesus’ disciples.

But this, of course, brings a different danger – The danger that it is not God who is honoured and worshiped for our successful ministry, but rather we honour our own gifts and talents.

The fact that God has rescued and saved us, accepting us into His family no longer moves and motivates us in Christian service, but rather it’s our apparent success.

And so instead of glorifying God in His service, we idolise success, and our own efforts to achieve it.

Unfortunately this has been the sin of more than a few “successful” pastors, and “successful” lay- people.

Few false gods are as deceitful as success.

When faced with such temptations, it is desperately important to rejoice for the best reasons.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones realised there is no better reason to rejoice in a “successful” ministry than that our sins are forgiven, and that by God’s own gracious initiative our names have been written in heaven.

May that be our focus too.

Have a good week rejoicing that your name is written in heaven.

Pastor Barry

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