Name dropping: defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “To mention casually the names of famous or important people to create the impression that one is familiar with them in an attempt to impress or influence others.” Have you ever noticed how many people try to associate their behavior with some important person by doing this? The person whose name is invoked has some authority either by their important standing, their reputation, or even their education.

I am amazed how many people invoke Jesus’ name to justify their behavior even if they know little about him. The assumption seems to be that invoking Jesus or God lends authority to their activities even if the behaviors are not God’s will. Some pervert what God wants even with nice sounding slogans and religious grammar but without a shred of evidence to justify their evil behavior. Read about the people behind Target’s recent advertising campaign, “Hanging with Satan” | WORLD (

Ask In My Name

In John 15:16, Jesus counsels his disciples “. . . that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” Asking in the name of someone is to invoke their authority and all they represent. It takes name-dropping a step further by using that person’s name to acquire legitimacy and in Christ’s case, to also acquire spiritual gifts and privileges associated with him. Perhaps we too often assume our wishes and desires are exactly what God wants for us.

Yet to invoke anyone’s name is to seek to identify with everything that the individual represents. In the Old Testament, prophets who spoke falsely while invoking the name of God were considered worthy of the death penalty (Deut. 18:20). Calling on God’s name, however, must accompany an understanding of what God represents and what is his will not just our own.

First, God’s Purpose, Not Mine

The “It’s just the way I am” excuse has been around for as long as I can remember. Today, couched in terms of one’s personal identity we still hear the same worn out mantra.

Before asking God for anything, the first step is to be sure we know what God wants. To assume God always wants exactly what we want borders on making God in our own image, idolatry of the first magnitude. Find out who Jesus is and what is his purpose and design for humanity before name-dropping. Feeling good by invoking his name may sound legitimate but finding yourself genuinely on board with the rules of His Kingdom gives the legitimacy we really need.

See Conversation on John 15 here.

© 2023 Robert T. Weber, Words Done Right LLC and The Lazarus Chronicles