I am currently going through a phase that many women experience after they get married. The name change phase. It is an exciting time, but it can be very frustrating. Depending on where you have to change your name, there can be many hoops to jump through. Let’s just say it was a lot simpler to change my name on my credit cards than it was at work or at the DMV. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are protocols for everything, but it just seems there was a lot more hassle than was really necessary.
At any rate, it’s a very exciting time! You are becoming a different person. The old name has passed away and now everyone has to get use to calling you by your new name. You have to get accustomed to hearing your new name and writing/signing it. As much as I love my husband, it is still taking some time getting familiar with being called by his last name. I am still very early on in signing with my new name, so at times, I have to take a moment to be sure not to sign my former name.
Then there are moments that tend to be a little heavy. I have this person’s name. I have become uniquely bound to this person and their name. What is in a name? Well, now you share that name with your spouse’s family. You are now a member of that family. Whatever the reputation is of that family, you now carry it with you. You have now taken on a new identity, whether you realize it or not. That is not to say that you are no longer your own person, only that the actions you take not only affect you, but those associated with that name. You can make the name greater or you can do things that dull it. The choice is entirely up to you.
In the same way that taking on your husband’s name in effect places a new mantle on your shoulders, so does that of a person coming from the world who takes on the name of Christ and becomes a Christian.
You go through the same things when you first start this journey. You have to get use to being and acting like a Christian. You have to get accustomed to being called one. You have to understand the responsibility you have when you walk around carrying the name of Christ as your mantle.
Again, what’s in a name?:
Character is in a name. Reputation is in a name and when we look at Jesus, all these things reside there: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
If you are carrying His name, that is who you represent. Now when we first become Christians, just like with an earthly marriage, it is an exciting time. Just like in an earthly marriage, we take pride in the name and we do our best to represent it well. Somewhere along the way, we forget why we took the name and we forget the reverence we once held for it. We start to just focus on ourselves, what we can get done for ourselves, without regard for who we represent.
I am not my husband, obviously. Yet, when I go somewhere, people see him. Why? Because I carry his name. My actions good or bad, are going to reflect back to him. If they are bad, trust me someone will make sure he hears about them before anything else. The same thing is true with Christ. We represent Him, and when people see us, they should see Him. That isn’t always reflected in our actions. Good or bad, God sees it all and thankfully for us He is a lot more forgiving than our human counterparts when we don’t represent Him well.
When you take on a new name, you become a new creature. The old things are passed away. You now have a fresh start. You have to be mindful of the name that you carry. Don’t get me wrong, some people will only remember you by the name you had in the past. Just like some people only remember you by the sin you formerly committed before you became a Christian. Here’s the thing, if that is all they can remember about you, then they don’t need to move to the next level with you anyway. You should leave them in the past that they seem to be stuck on.
Focus on the new mantle that you have taken on and represent it well.