He Still Calls Us By Name

Our names are the sweetest and most important words to us. They connect us to our identity and highlight our individuality. Jesus has special names for us.

He Still Calls Us By Name

March 19, 2020

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.-Dale Carnegie

When my husband and I became pregnant with each of our children, we agonized over selecting names. We searched for names which would set our children apart, yet would be appropriate for each season of their lives. Above all, we didn’t want a name which could easily turn them into a target for teasing.

Most parents struggle with this process. Names connect us to our identity and highlight our individuality. When we call each other by name, we communicate respect and courtesy. Hearing our names immediately grabs our attention. In many ways, our names become our most important words.

God takes the process of naming very seriously:

  • After creating all of the animals, He gave Adam the honor of giving them names. (Genesis 2:19)
  • The Bible tells us each night He calls the stars out by name. (Psalm 147:4)
  • As our shepherd, Jesus promises He calls each of us by name. (John 10:3)

Several times in the Bible, God changed people’s names:

  • Abram (exalted father) became Abraham (father of many nations). (Genesis 17:5)
  • Jacob (one who deceives) became Israel (one who wrestles with God). (Genesis 32:28)
  • Simon (to hear or to listen) became Peter (Rock).* (John 1:42)

Often God changed people’s name to indicate a change in their status or to signal a special calling. I believe He still changes names today.

Names Changing Our Status:

  • Redeemed: From the greek word, exagorazó, a redeemed person is one who has been freed from another’s power for a price (this word can also be translated as ransomed). We became redeemed people when Jesus gave His life, freeing us from the power of sin. (Galatians 3:13)
  • New Creation: God created all of us in His image. Unfortunately, our sinful decisions marred what He created. Through redemption, He once again creates us in His image; He makes us new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Names Changing Our Calling:

  • Salt of the Earth: Salt has two distinct purposes: to preserve food and to transform its taste. Jesus calls us to be the salt of the Earth. As Christians, He counts on us to both preserve and transform the world in which we live. (Matthew 5:13a)
  • Light of the World: The greek word, phós, is the same one used to describe daylight. In the New Testament, this word often refers to the illumination of God’s love and the life He offers us. As Christians, Jesus asks us to reflect God’s love through our good works.

The Bible actually identifies several names for the followers of Jesus. My favorite one reflects both a change in status and a special calling:

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15 NIV)

Jesus does call us to serve others. This passage does not negate this fact. Paul, along with the other apostles, often referred to himself as a servant of Christ. (Romans 1:1)

But Jesus did describe a change in the disciples’ status. The word friends in these verses comes from philos which can also be translated as someone dearly loved or a trusted confidant. By calling them friends, Jesus changed the status of His disciples. A servant would never enjoy the same intimacy as a friend.

The name friend also signified a calling: to obey His commands. All of Jesus’ commands can be summed up as loving God and loving people. (Matthew 22:37-40)

I always understood Jesus is my friend. Only a friend would sacrifice so much in order to redeem my life. But realizing Jesus calls me His friend sheds a different light. How does Shirley, friend of Jesus, respond?

She follows His commands. She lives a life of love and, in so doing, becomes the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we receive many different names from God. I encourage you to explore the Bible and find the ones which mean the most to you. When you do, I pray the following will ring true:

The One who loves us always calls us by name.

As we continue down the path, may we find comfort in the One who calls us by name.

 

*Sign up below for my blog and receive a free, inspirational Bible study of the Apostle Peter’s life. Watch how he learns to fulfill his calling as the “Rock”.

He Still Calls Us By Name

March 19, 2020

Our names are the sweetest and most important words to us. They connect us to our identity and highlight our individuality. Jesus has special names for us.

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.-Dale Carnegie

When my husband and I became pregnant with each of our children, we agonized over selecting names. We searched for names which would set our children apart, yet would be appropriate for each season of their lives. Above all, we didn’t want a name which could easily turn them into a target for teasing.

Most parents struggle with this process. Names connect us to our identity and highlight our individuality. When we call each other by name, we communicate respect and courtesy. Hearing our names immediately grabs our attention. In many ways, our names become our most important words.

God takes the process of naming very seriously:

  • After creating all of the animals, He gave Adam the honor of giving them names. (Genesis 2:19)
  • The Bible tells us each night He calls the stars out by name. (Psalm 147:4)
  • As our shepherd, Jesus promises He calls each of us by name. (John 10:3)

Several times in the Bible, God changed people’s names:

  • Abram (exalted father) became Abraham (father of many nations). (Genesis 17:5)
  • Jacob (one who deceives) became Israel (one who wrestles with God). (Genesis 32:28)
  • Simon (to hear or to listen) became Peter (Rock).* (John 1:42)

Often God changed people’s name to indicate a change in their status or to signal a special calling. I believe He still changes names today.

Names Changing Our Status:

  • Redeemed: From the greek word, exagorazó, a redeemed person is one who has been freed from another’s power for a price (this word can also be translated as ransomed). We became redeemed people when Jesus gave His life, freeing us from the power of sin. (Galatians 3:13)
  • New Creation: God created all of us in His image. Unfortunately, our sinful decisions marred what He created. Through redemption, He once again creates us in His image; He makes us new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Names Changing Our Calling:

  • Salt of the Earth: Salt has two distinct purposes: to preserve food and to transform its taste. Jesus calls us to be the salt of the Earth. As Christians, He counts on us to both preserve and transform the world in which we live. (Matthew 5:13a)
  • Light of the World: The greek word, phós, is the same one used to describe daylight. In the New Testament, this word often refers to the illumination of God’s love and the life He offers us. As Christians, Jesus asks us to reflect God’s love through our good works.

The Bible actually identifies several names for the followers of Jesus. My favorite one reflects both a change in status and a special calling:

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:14-15 NIV)

Jesus does call us to serve others. This passage does not negate this fact. Paul, along with the other apostles, often referred to himself as a servant of Christ. (Romans 1:1)

But Jesus did describe a change in the disciples’ status. The word friends in these verses comes from philos which can also be translated as someone dearly loved or a trusted confidant. By calling them friends, Jesus changed the status of His disciples. A servant would never enjoy the same intimacy as a friend.

The name friend also signified a calling: to obey His commands. All of Jesus’ commands can be summed up as loving God and loving people. (Matthew 22:37-40)

I always understood Jesus is my friend. Only a friend would sacrifice so much in order to redeem my life. But realizing Jesus calls me His friend sheds a different light. How does Shirley, friend of Jesus, respond?

She follows His commands. She lives a life of love and, in so doing, becomes the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.

When we choose to follow Jesus, we receive many different names from God. I encourage you to explore the Bible and find the ones which mean the most to you. When you do, I pray the following will ring true:

The One who loves us always calls us by name.

As we continue down the path, may we find comfort in the One who calls us by name.

 

*Sign up below for my blog and receive a free, inspirational Bible study of the Apostle Peter’s life. Watch how he learns to fulfill his calling as the “Rock”.

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