God Knows Your Real Name
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."
Our personal identity is important to us. Identity theft is real in the world today and those who have suffered from it know the embarrassment often associated with someone stealing your name and credit information. You go to make a purchase and can’t as your credit card is now locked by the issuing banking institution for “unusual spending activity” which translated means someone has your credit card number and is on a spending frenzy. After what seems like an eternity, you finally get a new card issued and your ability to make purchases is restored.
Some people spend a lifetime trying to build great credit, or to build a name for themselves only to experience the fragility of human existence when what they worked so hard for is gone be it by theft or neglect. In Revelation 2 Jesus gives us some very good news when he says to those who place their hope and trust in Him that one day they will be given a new identity and with that identity comes a brand new name. That might not mean much to you today but for those who have suffered from what Jesus said in John 10:10 about the greatest identity thief this world has ever known, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
One of the saddest stories I have ever heard about someone who worked feverishly in this life to make a name for himself was Penn State’s legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Most are aware of the chid abuse scandal that occurred under his watch by an assistant coach that ultimately led to his resignation and fall from grace in the public eye. Before he died he shared how he had worked so hard to make his name “mean something” and now at the end of his life when he could do nothing about it, it was all gone, everything he worked so hard to build was undone. In coach Paterno’s heart and mind he was a failure and those closest to him would say the coach finally succumbed to a broken heart when he died.
Contrast coach Paterno’s life with that of football legend Reggie White, an All-Pro, Hall of Fame defensive linemen for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers who was also an ordained minister. Knowing his personal popularity and growing fame whenever he had the chance would tell reporters, “I’m not here to make a name for myself, I came to exalt a name already given, the name of Jesus Christ.” In that statement Reggie White was articulating that he understood the reason each of exits in the first place.
Maybe you are someone who has suffered the pain of loss of your personal identity, a name you worked so hard to build but lost. If you are, believe it or not, loved one, you are in the perfect place to experience the grace and mercy of God, the very reason God sent Jesus into this world as Savior. When we spend our days seeking to make a name for ourselves we forget that God sent His Son to save us from ourselves, from the need to be self sufficient. When building our own name we forget that Jesus came to give us life and life to the fullest, to give us a new name, a new identity that will stand throughout eternity. We were never meant to make a name for ourselves by the works of our flesh, because God already has a name for us, one that He will give us one day when we meet Him face to face. Our true identity is received through faith, its God’s to give, which makes it all about His grace.
Yes, loved one, Reggie White had it right when he said, “I’m not here to make a name for myself, I came to exalt a name already given, the name of Jesus Christ.” Believing that this is true, the best way we can spend our days is exalting the name above all names!
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)
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