When my husband and I began to bring children into the world. We discussed the usual “ what are we going to name them.” While neither of us thought about what the name even meant. The name we chose became their identity.
We thought about borrowed names we liked, we can bind letters of family members names to create new ones. But we didn’t pick names out that had characteristics that we’d hope would be part of our children’s lives. We are avoided names of people we didn’t respect.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches to be seen is better than silver or gold“ – Proverbs 22-1
We didn’t realize the picking the names our children could speak and identity them, which is a big deal.
Identity and Significance
There is a three word question that most of us spend our life trying to answer, even if we don’t realize it. That question is: Who are you?
What comes to mind when you hear those three words? How do you answer that question? It’s a question that cuts you to the core of identity. It reveals what you believe about yourself. It reveals what value and where are you find your significant.
Some of us answer it with our location or our job title. Some first question we ask unfamiliar people are, “ what do you do?, or, “ where do you work?’ It is common to tie our unity to our work. But what happens when our job changes or our company dissolves? If our identity is in our work, we will have a crisis when our job changes.
Some of this place our identity in our family roles – husband, wife, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, mom, or dad. We define ourselves through our relationships with other people. But what happens when those relationships change? What happens when death or divorce enters the picture, or when the kids leave the house? Many of us discover relationships are not a stable place to put our identity.
Sometimes we tie our identity to our behavior – our successes, our accomplishments, besetting sins, sinful patterns, or even our shame. “ I am an addict,” and “I am a leader” are both identity statements. When we let our successes or our sins define us, it can become more difficult to embrace the identity God has for us.
Names Hold Meaning
If you were given a name based on the things that were true about you, what would your name be? I never minded my name until I studied its origins. My is “Kathy” is a derivative of “Katherine, which originates from Greek means “pure.” I’ve had a hard time with the meaning of that name, because I see myself as “pure.” Several Kathrines (spelled differently ) throughout the ages have been sainted: including Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Catherine of Bologna, Saint Catherine of Genoa. Are some remarkable saints during the early ages. They had a higher value and dogmatic life during their time. Many people believe that Catherine is a holy biblical name and it has higher value than any normal name.
Naming Is Tied To Authority And Intimacy
Naming demonstrates authority. When God created man, he gave him the name Adam, one of the first job he gave Adam was to give names everything under his care.
Well naming a child to authority in the Scriptures it also reveals intimacy. Nothing happens in the contacts of relationships. In Genesis 16:4, when Hagar was wandering in the wilderness and near death, he gave a name to God when he rescued her. He called Him “ the One who sees me.”
When you name someone, it shows there is an infinite knowledge -a relationship, and privilege.
Why God Renames His People
We serve a God who renamed people. He has a way of marking us and tearing down our own concocted identities.He doesn’t do this because He doesn’t value uniqueness. Nor does He do this because He doesn’t He wants us all the look that same, think the same or be the same. The scriptures declare God was an active participant in our creation. God value uniqueness – He created it. The reason he stripped us from our own identity is because He offers us a greater identity.
Even though I feel like I cannot live up to my name. The Bible has his phrases and our identity: fearfully and wonderfully made, scene, known, loved, children of God, predestined, adopted, not forgotten, no longer orphans, filled with the spirit, full of Christ, united with Christ, one spirit with the Lord, chosen, accepted, loved, forgiven, not forsaken, reconciled, free from condemnation, a new creation, complete in christ, holy, blameless, without a single fault, secure, heirs, free, no longer slaves, transformed, renewed, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, salt, light, not our own, but with a price, created in the image of God, baptized into Christ, honored, raised with Christ, dead to sin, alive to God, part of the body, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, the bride of Christ, renamed.
Wow, and I am concerned about my name meaning “pure.” Here is where value comes in, no matter your name, what it means, it only matters what God named you.
Jesus Gave Uo His Name Ans Identity
Jesus did not make a name for himself but took on a false identity of a criminal. He made himself nothing, but the Father bestowed on him and name above all names, Philippians 2 talks about the power of that name:
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was god, he did not think of equality with God and something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took a humble position I was slain and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself and obedience to God and died of criminal death on the cross. Therefore, God related him to a place at the highest honor and gave him a name above all other names, that the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11
A New Identity
Jesus gave up His name and identity for us. He became like us so that we might become like Him. When I think of this, I am reminded that there is no need for me to try and carve a name for myself. Any identity I concoct for myself won’t last, only the identity God gives me will last into eternity.
Zephaniah 3:20 states, “ on that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth. And I restore your fortune before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken.
God sees us, He knows us. He knows who we are and who we are meant to be. And that will be the basis for our new name the one only He and I will know.