I always love asking pregnant mommas, “So what names have you picked out?” Sometimes they say, “We aren’t telling anyone until the baby is here.” I totally respect the fact that they don’t want everyone weighing in and giving opinions on what the baby will be called. Such a big decision. How many times will that word be spoken over that child throughout his lifetime? Names are important.
When it came to Jesus and John the Baptist, God told their parents what their child’s name should be. But in Abraham’s case, God made a name change. You’ll remember in Genesis 17:5 that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham when He called him out to be the father of nations. Yep, a man who was very old and had no humanly possible way of becoming a father was named and called Abraham, meaning father of multitudes. He was called this years before anyone saw a baby Isaac. Have you noticed that with God? Even when we can’t always see who we are, He calls us as such. Romans 4:17 tells us that God calls things that are not as though they are.
With two of our adult daughters now married and our baby heading to an out-of-state college this fall, the thought of an empty nest is on my mind. My husband and I are in our 26th year of a happy marriage. He has been my partner in raising three daughters, my constant companion, the sharer of all my exciting memories. He has been the one who has held me on the occasions when our entire world has seemed to drop out from underneath us. He was the one who brushed my bangs back out of my eyes as he encouraged me to keep breathing and focusing as our newborns entered this world.
All of this shared history together as friends, parents, and household managers launches us as we start a new season. Our lives take on different chapters, and our names change too. Now that the kids are grown, we have more time on our hands to really enjoy each other—to date, play, and nurture our deep friendship. I have found myself recently calling him “my best friend” instead of “Brad.” We were always close, but something about using that term as his name has brought us even closer.
I’ve heard that it is not nice to “label” people, but in this context I think that it is absolutely life-changing. What would happen in our households if our elementary student who is struggling academically in school was constantly called “the smart one” or received consistent verbal reminders that he has the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)? Our friends and families need to be spoken over and called out as God sees them and even called out to who they will be in the future.
How about ourselves? What would happen if we started calling ourselves who God says we are? We all have those annoying thoughts that try to breed insecurity in our lives. What would happen if we started saying out loud to ourselves who we really are . . . who the Bible says we are . . .
I am righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:24)
I am God’s workmanship created in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3)
I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:15)
What a difference a name change can make!
So what’s your name?