What do you think your new name will be in God's kingdom?
What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet ...," according to Shakespeare. But is it really true that names are unimportant?
God is in the naming business, and so is the devil. Whoever names rules. In fact, God gave man dominion over the Earth and let the first man name all the animals. Are you ruling the domain God gave you by calling good and evil by their correct names, or have you delegated that responsibility to media executives, psychologists and social planners?
"When I get to heaven and have a new name, I think it might be Simon Peter because that is the disciple I am most like," says Marshall, age unknown. "He was always opening his big mouth before he thought. I do that all the time."
If that's the case, the name "Simon Peter" in heaven will be as popular as Jones or Smith in America. Yes, the Bible contains many instances of Peter's speaking and acting rashly. At other times, he hit the bull's eye, as in his insightful statement to Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). The Lord responded that he would build his church upon this rock (Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ).
"Angel" is one of the most popular names nominated for heaven. Ross, 7, says he wants to be God's "helper and messenger." Ross probably knows that the word "angel" means messenger. Hannah Beth, 9, says she wants to be called "Angel" because that's her daddy's name for her. Finally, Erica, 8, wants to be called "Angel Voice" because she likes to sing Jesus' praises.
Hannah Beth's comment about her dad calling her Angel demonstrates the tremendous power parents possess in influencing their children. With a name like angel, she probably does her best to live up to her dad's expectations.
With the power to name comes great responsibility. Centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20).
I would hate to stand in the shoes of Hollywood trend-setters when they give an account to God for influencing millions of people to call evil good and vice versa. But Christians should do more than point out what's wrong in society. We should take the lead by speaking the truth in love over any domain in which we have authority or influence.
"In Isaiah 62:2, it says, 'You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name,'" says Andrew, age unknown. "A saved person is called a Christian. In heaven, I might be called Child of God."
The ultimate renaming occurs at the moment when people trust the Lord Jesus as their only savior. With a spiritual birth comes a new name - Christian.
As for waiting to be called a child of God in heaven, stop waiting, and start celebrating because the wait is over. "But as many as received Him (Christ), to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). And don't stop celebrating because Jesus wants all his children to feast on him. He is the bread of life and the new wine. Our fellowship with him can be a banquet of rejoicing because his life overcame death. God wants to give all his children a personal name engraved on a white stone to signify their personal victories in experiencing his overcoming life.
Victors in the ancient athletic games of Greece received a white stone. Isn't it better to let God engrave your name on a white stone in eternity's arena than to strive for a name on Earth that will only fade with time?
Bring a KTAG Arts Festival to your church or school. For details, visit the Arts Festivals page here. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
© 2002 Carey Kinsolving