I was given a gift when I was younger.
This gift was a framed document with my name spelled out in beautiful cursive letters at the very top. Immediately below that was an explanation of what my name meant.
The English meaning of my name is Follower of Christ, or in its original Greek, The Anointed.
I’ve always loved my name for this very reason.
The intent, or the purpose of my name has made it precious to me; a name I can strive to live up to.
We find many moments in Scripture where God changes a name. Consider Abram (Genesis 17:5), Sarai (Genesis 17:15-16), and Jacob (Genesis 32:28). Even consider Peter (Matthew 16:18), to whom Christ assigned several names.
Genesis 17:5 – No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
A father of many nations…
Abram means the high father. Yet in light of God’s plan for his nation Israel, He changed Abram’s name from the high father to a father of many nations in order to align with his God given purpose.
Genesis 17:15-16 – God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of people will come from her.”
The mother of nations…
Sarai means my lady or my princess. Yet we find once again that in light of God’s will, He changed Sarai’s name from my princess to the mother of nations to match her God given purpose.
Generations later we can look back and see how these name changes aligned perfectly with the plan God had already set in motion.
Abraham really was the father of many nations and his wife Sarah really was the mother of nations; bearing kings of many peoples.
So my name might have a meaning that I hold dear, but when it really comes down to it, Kristin is just the name my parents gave me.
I have a different name.
I have a God given name of which will align with my God given purpose.
You have a different name than what you go by here on earth.
You have a God ordained name to match your God ordained purpose.
Now it is up to us to live, breath, and respond in a way that will allow God to shape our hearts in order that they might align with His holy and perfect will.
Perhaps you don’t feel worthy though.
Perhaps the idea of actually having a God ordained name is a scary thought.
It was for me for quite some time.
To think that God would or could actually use me in any context to further His Kingdom was rather intimidating – but only because I was looking within myself.
An awareness of our shortcomings is healthy to some extent. A heightened awareness of where we fall short has the potential to reveal the magnificence of Christ’s sufficiency.
It also has the potential to make us self-focused and self-absorbed.
He was blinded to the eternal glory and divine purpose for which Christ was sent to earth due to his self-obsession.
We find Jesus prophesying his death in Matthew 16:21-28 and like most of us would, Peter immediately denies what was soon to come.
Jesus rebukes him, renouncing him by saying, “get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (vs. 23).
Peter was self-absorbed; focused only on what he could see and not on who Jesus was.
Later on in the book of Matthew we read how Peter denied Christ three times (Matthew 26:69-75); focusing only on himself and his own well-being.
Believe it or not, we do these exact same things every day.
Sure, they may not be in the same manner or context as Peter, but we do them nonetheless; having in mind only the things of men rather than the things of God.
We discourage a friend who feels led by God to do something that seems radical in the eyes of man.
We indulge in behaviors and humor that mock the name of Christ.
We deny being changed by the Holy Spirit in the way that we speak and act.
We contradict the driving love of Christ in our apathy.
We, along with Peter, are sinful and unworthy of any calling as great as the one God has given us.
That’s the beautiful thing about grace though, isn’t it? It’s not about the one who receives, but rather about the One who gives.
God’s grace; God’s purpose for your life hinges not on what you do, but rather on what He has done.
Peter messed up big time, yet God still gave him a new name; a name that would have eternal impact.
Matthew 16:18 – And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…
Peter was the rock on which Christ built His church.
That’s quite the divine purpose.
God used the man who denied him (Matthew 26:69-75), doubted him (Matthew 14:29), was a hindrance to him (Matthew 16:23), and the man of little faith (Matthew 14:29) and made him the foundation on which He built His Kingdom; His very nation.
So don’t you think for a second that God doesn’t have a new name for you.
What you’ve done is not your name.
What He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do through you is your God given name; your God ordained purpose, for it is only in relation to Jesus Christ that our name has any purpose here on earth and in Heaven above.