Luke 10:20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
It’s great to be a Christian. There are so many things, so many blessings to be happy about. So many reasons to be thrilled about!
God provides for us. Most people reading this devotional probably enjoy a “rich” lifestyle (and remember the Biblical definition of rich: having more than ONE day’s provision). We have PLENTY even though we typical WANT more. God blesses us materially, and for that we rejoice.
God blesses us spiritually and emotionally. We have access to contentment, satisfaction, happiness and security in God. God watches over us, protects us and blesses us. And while all those things are certainly worthy of rejoicing, Jesus points out the real source of our joy:
Luke 10:20 … but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (NKJV)
Jesus had appointed 70 people to go before Him into the cities and villages where He would be traveling. They went out to proclaim that “The kingdom of God has come near you” (v.9), heal the sick and prepare the way for the Son of God.
Upon returning, they exclaimed their astonishment “that even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (v.17) Jesus replied with an almost “well, of course they are!” type of answer. The Lord tells them how He personally witnessed the commander of the demons (Satan) fall from heaven like lightning, signifying the total defeat of all the evil spirits. Jesus then confers on the seventy the authority to trample on the demons and “all the power of the enemy”, so that nothing would hurt them.
The text doesn’t say, but it seems that Jesus anticipated the fact that feeble men with this blessing of power might begin get their joy from this “power”, or become prideful with this new authority. Or perhaps they might just end up focusing on what they could do, rather than who they were.
So Jesus proactively instructs them, “don’t base your happiness on your ability to ‘trample’ the enemy; put your joy and hope in the fact that your names are written in heaven”.
As I was thinking about that, it began to dawn on me that this must be a VERY important fact, given that Jesus elevated it above even the power of healing and casting out demons. As humans, we would tend to get more excited about what we can SEE and DO, rather than something unseen. What else does Scripture have to say about our “names written in heaven”? Let’s find out more about…
The Book of Life
- Moses knew about “God’s Book” (Ex 32.31) and it appears that perhaps all names are in it from eternity past, and those who reject Christ are “blotted out”.
Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. (NKJV)
Revelation 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (NKJV)
Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (NKJV)
- The angels are aware of “the Book” and only those whose names are found written there in the end will be saved.
Daniel 12:1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. (NKJV)
- All Christians who are in the Book are God’s children. God didn’t choose another method (our methods!) of recording the “truly saved” such as all who belong to a certain “church” with a particular name, or a denomination, or those who hold to a specific systematic theology…. the only TRUE list of who is saved is contained in the Book of Life and I imagine we will be somewhat surprised by which names end up there.
Philippians 4:3 And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. (NKJV)
- Only those written in the Book of Life (or more accurately, those who have not been removed or “blotted out”) will have a place in heaven.
Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (NKJV)
When you get too preoccupied with what is going on down here, or maybe find yourself become too content or too focused on the “things”, “blessings” or “power” that God graciously pours out on you, remember the words of Jesus about the real reason to rejoice: “rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”. Can you picture God opening His Book, flipping through a few pages, running His finger down the page… and there it is… YOUR NAME! Won’t that be a great moment?!?
Lord, Help us to rejoice in the what Jesus declares as worthy of our rejoicing.. that our names are written in the Lambs Book of Life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: When is the last time you rejoiced in the fact that your name is written in the Book? Do you rejoice in God’s favor? God’s material blessings? God’s emotional and relational blessings? Do you rejoice because “life is good”? Have you ever stopped to consider that your name is written in Heaven in God’s own personal Book?
Application: Jesus said that even though you can heal, slay demons and overcome all your enemies… don’t rejoice in that. Rejoice because your name is written in the Book of Life. Obviously, that should be our focus of joy today as well.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?