Tuesday, June 21, 2005



So, what am I? One guy talks to me about obedience as if I need the lesson. Another guy calls me a mighty warrior of God. Who's right? Oh, I'm so frazzled!

I'm glad that both are wrong. I'm glad that the only name that really matters is the one God gives me.

We have lots of names, good and bad, and both types are damaging. Bad names are obvious: drive another nail in the coffin, knock another leg out from under the table, kick the person when they're already down. Yah, we know that thoroughly.

The tyranny of a good name is more subtle. "Oh, so I'm a mighty warrior of God, hmmm? I guess that means I've solved all the problems. People should listen to me." But good names are like sand sculptures: here today, gone tomorrow. As the old saying has it, it takes 1000 attaboys to get a brownie point, but one awshit wipes them all out and resets the counter to zero.

God's name is permanent. At first it is incomprehensible. "What do you mean, 'forgiven?'" We have no experience with forgiveness that has no memory, no experience with an act so thorough that once we believe Jesus died for us the past, as far as bad names go, is gone. Washed away as completely as last week's sand sculpture after a few high tides.

Then God goes on to give us additions to our names, as we learn to live with him. "Beloved." That's a tall order, believing that idea when our world thinks love comes from Hallmark and its real hallmark is sex. God is the most outstanding teacher I've ever met, and he's even teaching me about real love. How? By his example. And the example changes me.

Being around people changes us; we take on their characteristics, even sharing dreams if the contact goes deeply enough. Being around God naturally causes us to become like him. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus..." If there's power in my life, He's where it comes from. If there's need in my life, he will have to fill it. He knows my name and will teach it to me, day by day.

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