“As He says in Hosea: ‘I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.’ And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God.” Romans 9:25-26
What Name Do You Answer To?
Walk His Way Revisited
First Posted in June, 2014
People can use all sorts of derogatory names for one another. My stepfather was a master at name-calling, and even though I was too young to know what the names meant, it irritated me. Of course, none of the people he called names were within earshot, so nothing ever came of it. No one ever confronted him; thus, I grew up with the sense that you could say whatever you wanted behind people’s backs, and as long as they couldn’t hear you, no one would get hurt. (As a Christian, I began to learn the more excellent way of love.)
In the Sunday Parade magazine several weeks ago, I read an interesting line that made me stop and think: “The late African-American poet Lucille Clifton once wrote, ‘What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else.’”
Sticks and stones hurt us, and names most certainly hurt us, and we’ll do almost anything not to give others a reason to think poorly of us. But we are less aware of what names Satan calls us. He is a liar, so what he declares of us will never be accurate. Some common names he uses: Ugly. Stupid. Unloved. Unworthy. Guilty. Hopeless. Useless. Out of touch. Messy. Used up. Finished.
But God, Who always and only tells the truth about us, calls us by different names. In Romans 9:25-26, we are “His people”, “beloved”, and “sons (daughters) of the living God.” In 1 John 3:1, we are called “children of God.” In Isaiah 64:8, we are called “the clay” and “the work of Your hand.” In the gospels, we are called “sheep.” In Romans 8:28, we are simply called “the called.”
Perhaps most beautiful of all is this: “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7). We are called by His name. Christian. Christ-follower.
The word translated “name” in Scripture commonly included not only what a person was called, but also all that the name implied, such as rank or authority, character, reputation, and representative. Great care was taken when naming a child (although today we think some of the names they used were derogatory, such as “This One Will Be the Death of Me.”) When we realize that our Father has given us names of destiny and belovedness and beauty, we are honored.
Don’t answer to what the enemy calls us. Turn away, and refuse to listen. That is not the real you he is talking to. Answer to the names God has given us.
God, You have called us Your own children. Give us the grace to turn away and not answer to any other name, whether from the enemy of our soul, or a person who means us harm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.