And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Have you ever been proud of something you accomplished? Maybe you completed a big work project, you ran a marathon, met a weight goal, built something, or perfected a new recipe. Whatever it is, it is something you completed, and you are excited about it.
In fact, you are so proud of your accomplishment that you just want to tell everyone about it. People of course are excited for you, and they might even start to ask you how you did it, and may want advice on how they can do the same thing. As a result, your ego begins to grow, and before you know it you are calling yourself a team leader, an avid runner, a health coach, a cook, or a builder.
Now, I realize that there are real people who actually do some of these things for a living…but those are not the kind of people that I am talking about.
I’m talking about the average person who begins to rejoice in their accomplishments and talents in such a way that they are more excited about the power and accolades they receive than they are about the God who gave it to them. This is exactly what Jesus was addressing in Luke 10:18-20.
He had just given seventy two disciples power to go preach the gospel, and he sent them out into the world to proclaim the kingdom of God. As they came back to report what happened they were excited that even demons were subject to them (As a side note, I would probably be excited as well). But Jesus quickly takes their minds and hearts away from the power they had and the things they accomplished when he said in verse 20:
 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
What’s his point? Don’t put your hope and joy in the things that you have accomplished, or rather, the things that I (Jesus) have accomplished through you. Instead, put your hope in God and the eternity that he has laid up for you in heaven.
Jesus knew that these accomplishments could be snares for the disciples and could cause them to boast in themselves instead of in God. So he calls them to turn their eyes away from their gifts, power, and accomplishments, and turn their focus instead to their eternity and to the one who has given them all things.
This way of thinking keeps them and us from becoming prideful and from putting our hope in ourselves.
So today, do good work, accomplish great things, run marathons, complete big work projects, cook great food, meet goals. But don’t put your hope or your identity in those things. Rather, keep your focus on the reality that you are a child of God, and that your name has been written in heaven. This great gift of God will not only produce joy, but it will keep us humble and dependent on the one who made us and saved us by his grace.