Hi! My name is Faith. What’s yours?
Names are important. Usually, the first question we ask someone is “what’s your name?”
They are on our bank statements, our driver’s licenses, and our passports. Parents pick names for their children based on emotional or familial significance. We call our friends by special nicknames that remind us of good times or inside jokes. We give names to pets, boats, and cars. Sometimes, people call us mean names that hurt our feelings or challenge our confidence.
We define ourselves and the things around us by what they are called, by their names. Names identify us; they set us apart from others.
If you do not know someone’s name, then you probably do not know them very well.
God knows your name. In Isaiah 49:16, we are told that our names are written on the palms of his hands.
But God does not just know our names. He calls us by special names that show the depth of our relationship, like when your mom calls you “pumpkin” or when your best friend keeps using that really embarrassing nickname from high school.
He calls us chosen.
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Do you remember a time when you felt rejected? A boy that you liked did not like you back? A time you tried to help someone and they did not appreciate or want your help? A time that you were metaphorically (or maybe literally) picked last for the team? You probably felt like you were not smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, or simply good enough.
God does not reject us. He accepts us; He wants us. He chooses us.
He calls us free.
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36).
God says we do not have to be weighed down or trapped by guilt, shame, worry, fear, or any other shackle of this world. He set us free from all of that when Jesus died for our sins.
He calls us masterpieces.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
My mom recently went to an art museum and she came back with tons of pictures of the work on her phone. She was so excited to show me, talking about how the piece was created and awe-inspiring the works were to see in person. She would say “the colors were so beautiful,” or “it must’ve taken the artist ages to finish!”
Like my mom got excited over the works of art she saw, God gets excited about us. He’s the artist that created us, and He looked at His work and called it good. Just like an artist uses certain colors or techniques to create a meaning or mood in his work, God created in us special talents and traits that help us accomplish “the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10).
He calls us beloved.
You could say that love is a key theme of the Bible. God is love (1 John 4:16). He calls us to love one another (Mark 12:31). He calls us to love Him (Mark 12:30). But above all, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
That is the crux of the Gospel: that God loves us so much that He sent His blameless son to die so we do not have to.
We are the recipients of God’s perfect love. We are His beloved.
That is a name that is more important than the ones on our birth certificates, because His love brings life.