Hello, again, my friends. I remember each time we brought our newborn children home, the first thing we wanted them to learn was our identity. We couldn’t wait for them to become old enough to recognize us their parents! Lori and I were usually in a contest to see if the baby’s first words would be “mama” or “dada”. We would spend much time talking, tickling and touching as we strived to make ourselves known to our little one. What a triumph we experienced when we realized, “Look, he knows me!”
What’s Our Identity?
The most basic information about us in our society begins with our identity – who we are. As we meet new people, the first thing we do is exchange names. All other information concerning us follows that specific and particularly required introduction.
Most of us want others to know who we are. We want to be well known or known to be well. But, how do we want others to know us? Are we known in ways positively or negatively? Well, the Bible says that a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches (Proverbs 22:1). Therefore, as a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, HIS good name (identity) should be our desire! What a person believes helps define, mold, and characterize them.
Problems leading to drug use, alcohol and other vices many times stem from a poor self-image. When children grow up believing parents who continually say, “You’re never going to amount to anything”, chances are they won’t. Their self-image is damaged and they think of themselves as useless. But a child who grows up with encouragement and praise tends to believe in his worth to others, thereby becoming a well-adjusted, contributing member of society.
Examples of Misidentification:
Adolph Hitler was obsessed with the belief that he had the power to create a super human race of men. As he acted on this false belief, it made him what he was – a madman, annihilating millions. History will never look favorably on his name.
But now let’s take a look at Father Abraham. He was just an ordinary man, working and taking care of his family. Back then his name was Abram, which means “exalted father”. That’s a pretty good name, don’t you think? His name was well -known in his neighborhood. But Abram believed God and put his faith in Him when he heard Him speak (Genesis 15:6). He then became a righteous man and God gave him a new and better name, Abraham, “father of nations”. His belief in God made him what he became, an even more influential and well-known “father”!
Let’s look at another famous person in Scripture whose belief shaped his life both for evil and good. His name was Saul. His beliefs as a Pharisee made him a torturer and killer, throwing Christians in prison or putting them to death as heretics. His name was known and feared in the Christian community. But when he believed God and put his faith in Him he received a new name: Paul, whose thoughts, desires, and actions were diametrically opposed to those of his former self. He stated, “I know whom I have believed”, and acted on it with everything that was in him. His belief shaped his character. When Paul went to Jerusalem, Barnabas had to vouch for him that he was really Paul and not Saul (Acts 9:26-27) before the people would accept him.
Our New Identity
The wonderful truth is God knows who we are, but do we know who He is? He is the Father Who gave up His Son for us. That should be a great motivation for a godly behavior. Christ died for the ungodly. Since He died for us, therefore we must be ungodly. We should not want to be. God wants us to grow up in Christ, not remain unruly, selfish, rebellious children. Our Father wants to give us rewards for good behavior. We should covet these rewards and strive to win them because we will then turn around and cast them at the feet of His Son, Jesus Christ. Is it our desire to identify with Christ and to glorify Him? If we believe in Him we should want to live up to His expectations. The Apostle Paul said, “I am what I am by the grace of God” (I Corinthians 15:10). His old beliefs made him a Saul but his new belief made him a Paul.
Be The New You
What’s in a name? Many parents look carefully through baby books to choose a spiritual name for their child that will hopefully characterize them. Our first daughter’s name is Charity Celeste, which means “Love of Heaven”. Our youngest daughter is named Cherish Celeste, which means “value of heaven”. These names speak for themselves. All three of my sons have the same middle name, Christian-followers of Christ. We pray they will grow up into these names.
There is a little internet website called Facebook. On it can be found names, pictures, as well as information about different people who might want to get to know you. They offer a profile of themselves, offering insights into their character. The first time I read a comment posted by a certain gentleman I could just about tell by his use of vulgarity what type of man he was. His profile read like a book, not a Facebook, but a life book!
God also has a “Facebook!” Someday we will all face His book. He calls it the Book of Life. Have you let Him add you as a friend?
So, my friends, in light of eternity…will your name be notorious, glorious, or oblivious?