We have a groundhog currently living under our deck called Philip. There’s a small (hopefully harmless) grass snake who frequents our driveway called Slithery. And don’t forget Melvin the Mantis who likes to pop by once in a while and check out the Mums on our front porch.
Sadly, I can’t take any of the credit for naming our backyard ‘pets’, but isn’t it funny how, even as adults, we are partial to giving something a name. We name our houseplants, our cars—I even had a friend who named a spider that lived on her bedroom ceiling.
Names are a key part of our identity. They divulge information about our families, cultures, and origins. They denote intimacy and relationship, and can create the illusion of safety and security—even a spider can become somewhat palatable with a cute moniker.
God, too, is in the business of giving His people new names—a new beginning to illustrate His promises and purposes coming to pass through their faithful obedience.
Simon became Cephas: Rock
Abram became Abraham: Father of Nations
Jacob became Israel: Let God Prevail
Yet while the majority of us may not have received a brand new name, we can rest assured that by accepting Christ, we too have a new identity. A new beginning.
With all the weight of Scripture behind us, we can confidently call ourselves, among other things: righteous, accepted, redeemed, beloved, blessed, chosen, royal, blameless, saved, a masterpiece, a new creation, a child of God…
These names are no mere illusions of intimacy, security, and worth but grounded in truth, drenched with the blood of the lamb, and sealed with the Spirit.
So if you ever doubt your worth and identity in Christ, remember who—and whose—you are. We have been given a legacy of love from the Father that we cannot earn, nor lose. A name that is ours for a purpose, paid for with a price. A name that marks us as His.
“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, NLT).