What’s Your Name Again?
There’s something that annoys me – a pet peeve of mine. It might be petty, and I’ve tried to stifle it – really I have. But I just can’t deny that it bothers me. Let me ask you a question: “The names of the 3 men whom Nebuchadnezzar had thrown into the fiery furnace are _________, _________, and _________.”
Did you say “Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah”? Hmpf. I’ll bet you called them by the Babylonian names they were given by their captors (Daniel 1:7) – didn’t you?
Imagine this: suppose we were invaded by an evil people from the east – the Cheeseheads. They took over and gave us all new names from their Cheesehead culture – names like Bucky, or Suds, or Lambo. How would you feel about being called by those names?
That’s what Daniel chapter 1 says happened to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and I’ve got a feeling they probably detested the Babylonian names they were given. After all – we don’t call it “The Book of Belteshazzar” do we? No – it’s rightly called “The Book of Daniel.”
Unfortunately in life, we all get called names we don’t like at some point or another. Sometimes these names even stick – whether we like it or not. And sometimes we call ourselves bad names in our heads; even though others don’t hear us, the names are just as damaging, if not worse.
At the Good Friday service, Pastor Scott led us in a beautiful and intimate time of worship where he gave us the literal opportunity to strike out the names we are sometimes called in this world and replace them with the names Christ calls us. Cross out “loser” and replace it with “saved one.” Scratch through “failure” and write down “heir to the throne.” No more “vile sinner” – strike it and replace it with “forgiven, washed clean.”
Ephesians chapters 1 and 2 give us an extended list of who we are in Christ. Are you buckled in? Listen to this – Paul says that if your name is “Christian” then you are: blessed in Christ, chosen in Christ, holy, blameless, loved, predestined, adopted, blessed with grace, redeemed, forgiven, part of God’s will, purpose, & plan, united, given an inheritance, hopeful, sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, faithful, appreciated, remembered, prayed for, enlightened, called, shown mercy, loved, alive with Christ, given grace, saved, raised up with Christ, seated with Christ, shown kindness, given a gift from God, His workmanship, created for good works, brought near to God, at peace, one with Christ, reconciled to God, given access to the Father, no longer strangers & aliens, fellow citizens with the saints, members of the household of God, and being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
WOW! Isn’t that an AMAZING list??? I’m pleased just to make your acquaintance!
If you hurt over a name the world calls you – or of a name that little voice in your head keeps repeating – I hope you will regularly remind yourself and others of who you are in Christ. Don’t ever forget: He went to the cross to give you that right.
And – please – the next time you’re telling the story of the fiery furnace…