Kingdom Principle: Know the power of your “God-given” name.
Does God call you by another name?
|Isaiah 7:10-16||Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19||Romans 1:1-7||Matthew 1:18-25|
Is it me or are people’s names getting stranger…? I’m all about creativity and personal expression, but sometimes I have to wonder is that a name, a description or an exclamation. But maybe when God calls us it is all three. The question is are the “strange” names really strange or are they simply a parent’s expression of their desire or call for their children’s lives. Without wanting to judge anyone for how they named their child – a question for our reflection today is; might a parent’s name for their child be strange only if it is not the name that God has also set forth for that child. For my wife and I, naming our children was very powerful and important. We did not name any of our boys prior to seeing them, praying over them and asking God his plan for their lives – That may make us totally set-apart from most people – but that is of course what it means to walk on the way of Holiness. The interesting thing was that we always knew exactly what the name of our little girl would be – but never did we know the boys name until described as above – no surprise we had 3 boys…. (clearly our “confusion” did not impact the gender… rather because the child was a boy, we could not know the name until God gave it to us which was never until the child was born. My wife will attest she knew out eldest child’s name clearly before he was born – I wasn’t listening so well…)
What is your name? The power of your Last Name connects you to the generations that have gone before you. The power of your first Name both set you apart from those around you, but also sets forth your calling. For some of you this is a proud connection, other would be very happy to re-define their blood-line altogether. This is the very promise of Jesus – that you are to become adopted into his Family Bloodline. But beware if this sounds good to you – in Matthew 1:1-17 Jesus’ blood-line is established and it includes those who are associated with Incest, Prostitution, Racial Outcast, Adultery, and Social Outcast. (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, & Mary) It is not our past that defines our future – it is our faith and obedience in the call to action. We shall call him Jesus – and his calling is Immanuel. What is yours?
Jesus is the King and His name means God is Salvation and he is called Immanuel which means God is with us –therefore Salvation has come to be with us! Paul takes great pains to establish who he is in the greeting to the letter of Romans. You might even say this greeting is pregnant with meaning and power. Paul is a servant/slave and at the same an apostle who is set apart for the gospel of God… then he continues to further explain the Gospel in a sentence or two with more clarity and depth than most seminary books today. To this the conclusion of Paul and the purpose of the Principle this week: Obedience comes from faith in the Name. Faith is in the name of Jesus – by whom our salvation is secure and we are rescued and redeemed. This is first and foremost the Name of Jesus – but your name is just as important.
Have you asked God what your name is? Did your parents get it right? – or Does God have a new name for you? Abram became Abraham… Isaac –kept his name… Jacob became Israel Saul became Paul….. John- kept his name…. A false name is like a curse, and God’s name for you is a blessing unto freedom. Mary is one of the most interesting names to follow – its meaning is rebellious or bitter. We can see Biblically where Mary’s can rebel in the ways of the world (Mary Magdalene) or they can rebel from what the world has to offer (Mary Mother of Jesus) reflect on Lecrae’s song Rebel.
In my own life – my name – Casey – predominately means Brave but it also means Proclaimer of Peace… my call into ministry (being born of the Spirit) gave me a new appreciation for the name and David. It is of no small significance that I identity my ministry calling as in the line of David – and might I mention that my earthly father’s name is David. And while I am my father’s first born son – I do not bear his name. I wonder if my parents got it right. This does not mean I must change my name, rather I must learn to hear how God calls me – for he does call me by name – and for me – His call has more to do with being a shepherd/king in the line of David than it sounds anything like Casey…. but he tells me often that my courage and bravery must come from being a shepherd not a king.
Have you ever been in a room with many people and heard your name called, only to realize they were talking to someone else? We respond to our name…. How does the King call you? What if God is calling you by another name. Have you simply not heard him, because you are listening for something else? Spend some time with God…. Ask Him, What is my name? Listen to what the King says. Ask Him, Where in the Scriptures can I find my name? Listen without judgment to where the Spirit of God leads you in Scripture. (What story, what text, what reference does He lead you too?) There is nothing wrong with a strange name as long as that name does not keep you as a stranger to God.
I can’t stress enough for you to know that there is only one Name on Heaven and Earth by which every knee shall bow. There is only one Name by which your prayers shall reach the Father’s ears – It is the name of Jesus…. If you are praying and no one is answering…. If you are praying and no power if flowing – Are you praying in Jesus Name? There is something about the Name!