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Friday, November 27, 2009

Who Are You?

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We adjure you by the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches." Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus, I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?" Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped upon them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
(Acts 19:13-16)

We adjure you by the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches. The seven sons of Sceva sought to make merchandise by invoking the name of Jesus, "whom Paul preaches". Scripture does not inform us of how these men were viewed the people who stood round about to witness their attempted exorcisms -the bystanders were probably impressed at first. They couldn't see what the evil spirit saw - that these men were pretenders.

Who are you? A certain well known conference speaker began his ministry among violent street gangs. Occasionally he would take young people from his church with him to the inner city. Some of the church youth were understandably nervous. Others were a bit cocky. To all of them, this man would say, "You don't need to worry. Only remember one thing - these guys hate a phony, and they can spot one a mile away."

What about us? As lawyers, we live in a world of impressions and we know how to say things for effect. Well and good. But let us not forget that we stand always in the presence of One before whom nothing is hid. As we go through our daily routine, both in our practice and among our brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves a few questions - questions that others cannot ask. Questions like: "Why did I say what I just said?" or "Is the impression I'm leaving with this person a truthful one?" Chuck Swindoll used to keep a little plaque on his desk, turned toward himself so that only he could read it - it inquired of him, "What is your motivation?"

The struggle to be real is an ongoing one. Thankfully, the Lord Jesus, not self-recrimination, is the answer. He came to show us what reality is like and He ever lives to make us real, too. "He is made unto us ... sanctification." (I Cor. 1:30).

Lord, I ask that You work today in my inner life. You know what is real and what is false in me. My desire is that in my practice or in my studies, and in my walk through the world, there will be no gap between appearance and reality. Teach me, moment by moment, to walk in the light.

~ With thanks to Brent McBurney, Director of Attorney Ministries, Christian Legal Society

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