Names, Places, and Identities


What do we really think of the name of God? I honestly think that the average person has not thought of how often they say “God bless you” and “God damn it” in the same day, hour, maybe some even the same minute. We say our prayers and say “Dear God” then say either our own agendas without thinking what we’re saying in the name of Jesus(1Cor.1:2, Romans 10:13) or we just seem to forget about it.

“Your will be done” is just something that passes by our thoughts most days. We as Christians go from making that a devotion to a trophy thrown on our neck or to be picked up and shown off when we first see the finish line of salvation. Did something that used to be a complete life flip in modern-day “Well I try to be a good person.” and “Oh! You’re a Christian? I couldn’t even tell.” styles now become a medal to be stood on the podium once to declare ‘the finish line is attainable to all those kids aspiring to be in my position.’ then become out of practice or only on weekends Christians?

We take the Name but we don’t take what that name means. We say “Our God is an awesome God he reigns” while we don’t take in action what that means. We pray “Dear Lord” but we don’t mean as Webster puts “Noble, Precious, Heartfelt, Affection-Felt” “One whom service is due.” After watching Name in the Nooma series by Rob Bell(I was bored…luckily boredom can cause good results) I was thinking about name roots. I actually thought about how many people begin to fit their name. just for a list of some names that go back a bit…

John-Yahweh is Gracious(hebrew), Michael-Servant of God(latin), Olivia-olive branch or kind one(latin), Ryan-King(irish), Hannah-God is merciful(hebrew), Noah-rest or peace, Caleb-Rage like a dog(hebrew), Benjamin-son of my right hand, Nathan-(He gave), David-Beloved(hebrew), Daniel-God is my judge(hebrew), Peter-Rock, Shawn-derivatives of John(God is gracious) and Immanuel-God with us(Hebrew of course since most people know that song)

Now I don’t know if I live like God is gracious but I know that I will try my best. I don’t know if my dad, my friend or any of my old teachers were raised to be servants of God. I don’t know if Caleb has rage like a dog. I really hope that anyone named Olivia is kind but I hope so.  I don’t know if everyone or even anyone named Immanuel knows that God is with us. Do you think that anyone named their child with pure intent on what the name meant to be what they hope the child would be.

When you have a new job, title, or duty, Do you act differently? I know some people who get a job go to work, put on the uniform or enter the office and become complete strangers to me. They completely change voice tone, posture, and attitude in dealing with people. Some people just completely change who they are around certain people. When you took on the title Christian did you completely change? With the idea that God is present(I personally believe it.) did you change around him? Did you consciously make the decision to let who you were die and take on a new flesh?(Romans 8:6, 2 Cor. 5:17)  Some people I know when they got confirmed became a completely new person acting uber-“fill in denomination” and sometimes even more judgmental. We can go to a church service every Sunday, say all the right things, do all the right things, go to all the right places or we can do what is needed. When people get raises they sometimes feel even more perky at work or to get up in the morning for their job.  Titles change, Jobs differ, Faith can waver, Denominations change from one to the next, People can come and go. We can take the name Christian and make it into what a follower of Jesus is meant to be or, we can take the name Christian and be who we were but with a new title. We can give to charity, church or tithe.We can volunteer to soup kitchens, go on mission trips. We can do everything right but the only thing God wants us to do is to give Him our hearts. With all the merits we can earn in life when we step before God he ignores all of that and looks at our hearts.

Despite all of that each of us is still the person that they are. We aren’t what we do. We do things that define our reputation but our reputation isn’t us. We can make mistakes but if we know we’re forgiven and learn from them then we’ve gotten past them. We can do good things then act like total jerks. That doesn’t mean our future actions are ok because of that one good thing we did. They can be good or bad but still a part of who you are reflected in actions.  We don’t do one thing and everything else is judged according to that one action. To quote Matt Thiessen “The beauty of grace is that is makes life not fair.” When you decide to follow God…did you throw all your preemptive thoughts of who we’re supposed to talk to/how we’re supposed to act out the window? Did you actually pray and believe “My life is yours God. Your will be done. I truly wish to ‘die’ to my old ways.” in your heart?

My point is when you speak you’re showing who you are. When you pray you’re praying to who God is.  He’s not a genie. He’s not a friend who will just say whatever he can to make you smile. He’s not your personal servant. You’re his. When you pray you’re praying to someone who loves you more than any parent/spouse/sibling/pastor/friend could. When a prayer doesn’t get an answer you like it doesn’t mean you should stop praying.

For instance… If a friend said one thing that even if later came out to something better that you could ever want but, at that moment, wasn’t what you wanted to hear, Would you still talk to that friend? Stop talking to that friend until you saw that good that came out of it?

When you think of God…do you think that it means someone you talk to? Maybe to some it could mean best friend? Do you think that you can pray too much? Do you think that there’s a wrong time to pray? With all of the names, titles, denominations, and jobs did you realize that you’re still you and that’s apart of how you’re made in God‘s image? God is not who I decide he is but he is who he is because of what he’s done. I can pray to him and, his will is always done. When I pray to God I’m praying to a person who doesn’t have a will that can change or a heart that is differed but a Friend who will always do what’s best for me. I am alive only because he loves and has gifted me with life. I can’t really say much about how to become saved except to throw away your old self and form a heart for God.

I pray to God and know that he will do his will.  I know that with honesty reveals our hearts. With our hearts on our sleeves, it’s easier to show who we are in out actions. In honest actions shows our intentions. When we actually are completely honest with God we open our hearts to him and if we open our hearts then we can show what’s there that we don’t want there and where there’s room for God. I know that with everyone’s life we can get wrapped up in what we do but, we should focus more on who we are that it should show in our actions and reflect truly our title as a child of God. If we’re truly children of God then shouldn’t we want to be just like him, just as most kids look up to, learn from, and want to be just like their parents?