What's In A Name?

October 11, 2011
by Martin Wiles

Romans 4:17a – That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, "I have made you the father of many nations." This happened because Abraham believed in … God. (NLT)

I'm proud of my name and heritage. Not that I have anyone famous in my family line, but I wear my name with dignity. Several years ago, I assisted a relative in writing a book on our genealogical history. I humbly display two copies of the finished product on my bookshelf and add to it when someone dies or when previously unknown information becomes known. It traces our family history as far as we could discover with known records.

Many of Paul's readers were proud of their Jewish names. They had a long, rich history of interaction with God. He gave them the Promised Land, the Ten Commandments, the Law of Moses, the prophets, and kings. Even the Messiah came from their lineage. But some of them developed a problem. They began to trust in their name rather than in the God who gave it. Paul had to remind them that the relationship was not based on the name but on faith.

My name is just a name, but it identifies who I am. I don't know where my last name originally came from or exactly what it means, but I do know that it must be included on everything I sign, along with my first name. In fact, the last name is probably more important when it comes to locating information about me. Imagine trying to locate me in a database simply by looking for my first name!

Since I have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, I am known as a Christian. My name identifies me. I am a Christ-follower, rather than a Ghandian, Marxian, Leninian, Obamaian, or any other -ian. As such, it is important that I live up to my name. My trust is in the One from Whom I get my name, not in others who have chosen the same course as I have. My faith does not hinge on Mom, Dad, grandmother, or a preacher. My faith is in the One from Whom I get my name.

Prayer: Father, help us to remember that our name has eternal implications. Remind us that we are responsible for living up to our name. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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