I have a rather long name.
I was in the second grade before I learned how to spell it all correctly. I am proud of my name. It comes from my two grandfathers and that has always given me a sense of identity and connection to my heritage.
In the Bible we often see God change someone’s name after they have an interaction with Him – Abram becomes Abraham, Jacob becomes Israel, Sarai become Sarah, Simon becomes Peter and Saul becomes Paul. In the culture of that day, your name and your character were inextricably linked. Therefore when you had a life/character changing interaction with God your name changed.
In the midst of the chaos of our everyday lives, I am ascribed a variety of different names – employee, father, husband, coworker, bearded guy, white guy, Christian, or religious person. Some of these are okay, while other times the names have been more hurtful -hypocrite, judgemental, closed minded or uneducated. There are many attempts to define me and my character, yet in these moment I must remember where I get my name as a follower of Christ.
In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul is reminding the people of Ephesus where their name or identity comes from. He desires for them to hear their name and to realize the identity that comes with it. Starting in verse 3 and going through verse 14, Paul crafts a weighty run-on sentence of who we are in Christ. He uses imagery of God as our Father, of adoption, of an inheritance, of security and of hope.
In verse 15, Paul begins his prayer for the church at Ephesus. There have been times in my life that the prayers of others have revealed to me truths that I could not see myself. The people in Ephesus may have been downcast and discouraged, they may have been doubting who they are in Christ, but Paul did not forget. His prayer for them is that they would not only be reminded of who they are, but also have the wisdom and insight into how to live it out.
At the end of chapter 1 Paul reminds them of the origin of their name.
So many times I let unqualified people assign my name, the more it is repeated the more convincing it can become.
May we remember who we are and the origin of our name. It is not anchored in myth or shifting cultural beliefs. Our name, our character is anchored in the unchanging foundation of Christ. He loves us more than we can ever realize. He has done more for us than we will ever know or grasp. He has changed our name.
May God bless us as we reflect on the rich truths of Ephesians chapter 1 this week and may He open our eyes that we may see the hope that is our calling.
Grace & Peace,