Do you know the names of these flowers?
How about this one?
any other name
Most of us are familiar with this single line from William Shakespeare. Essentially, in context, it says that your name doesn’t really change who you are. But in Week 16 of the 52 Week Challenge readings, a very significant story is told around names.
For those not familiar with Jacob’s story told in Genesis, he had children by four different women. Two of the women were sisters, Leah and Rachel, while the other two were the sisters’ maids, Zilpah and Bilhah. Rachel was the one that Jacob loved the most, which grieved her sister greatly. Leah, however, could become pregnant while Rachel, for a time, was unable to bear children. This scenario set off a series of events that was reflected in the names of their children. You see, back then, it was a common practice to name children and places according to their significance. Thus, at the birth of each of the twelve sons, the feuding sisters tacked a name on each child declaring their perceived position in the battle for Jacob’s attention. So, the names of these children, when translated and in context of the story are:
So, I was thinking, what would my name have been had my parents chosen it based on their circumstances when I was born? Would it have been a name of joy or one that denoted stress? How about you? Were you born into a family that loved you and was glad to receive you? Or were the circumstances surrounding your birth less joyful?
Whether we were given a name specific to the situation or not, we often carry with us throughout life the circumstances of our birth and other events of our lives moving forward.
Yet, regardless of our pasts, mine and yours, we are given a new name at our new birth into Christ.
Here are a few more names God has given to His followers:
"Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." I Peter 2:10
"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." I Corinthians 2:27
"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called
children of God; and so we are.” I John 3:1
So regardless of the “name” you got from birth, once you have taken a place in God’s family you have a new name. Through His loving kindness, he replaces all of the names and labels, both real and imagined that plague our pasts, and gives us names reflecting His love and acceptance of us as His children. And, He even gives us a new scent to match!
“For we are the aroma of Christ to God .” II Corinthians 2:15
Thanks be to God that He can take away all of the names from our past and replace them with His name, sweet names.
Thanks for reading. Please pass on to someone else that might need a word of encouragement today.