Do you know what your name means? My name, Susan, means lily or lily of the valley. According to Wikipedia, “the Hebrew root for the name for the lily, שושן is derived from the root שוש or ששנ , meaning to be joyful, bright, or cheerful, which the basis for the word and name ששון Sasson, meaning joy.” You can find out the meaning of your name by doing a simple Google search.
We are given our name at birth. We don’t get to choose our name unless we pay to legally have our name changed. We do; however, get to choose another name we’re known by: Christian. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become a Christian, which literally means “follower of Christ” or “little Christs.” The name Christian first shows up in Scripture in Acts 11:26. It is said the first use of the name was in a derogatory manner by those opposed to Christ; however, the followers of Christ embraced the name and referred to themselves by it in Acts 26:28. In 1 Peter 4:16 Peter is telling followers “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”
By bearing the name of Christ, we are stating we belong to Him; we are part of His family. We pray in His name, teach in His name and serve in His name. Our actions, words, and very life itself reflect upon Him from the time we take on His name. Whatever we do, we should for the glory of His name [Colossians 3:17].
I remember growing up and people would make assessments of me based on my name. They knew the Coggins name because I have an older brother, and they would make judgments about me, whether accurate or not, because I was a Coggins. These expectations were held based on my name. I had the opportunity to live up to or fall short of their expectations. I knew people assumed me to be honest and hard-working, because I was a Coggins. I also knew they expected me to be loud and fun. I pray I lived up to the expectations and reflected positively on my family name.
There are certain expectations people have for Christians. Our actions either strengthen their expectations or weaken them. There are many people in the family of faith that either need to change their behavior or change their name because they’re giving Jesus a bad name.
Take a few moments today to reflect on your actions and words. Are you doing anything to give Christ a bad name? How are you bringing honor and glory to His name?