New Names


by Marilyn Ehle

You are Simon?  you will be Cephas.”” John 1:42

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”   2 Corinthians 5:17

As an experiment I recently went to my computer and inserted this into the Google space: “Favorite Baby Names.” Up came scores of sites with interesting information about the most common baby names currently used in the United States. I then broadened my search by inserting more specific details into the space: “Favorite African or Indian or Mexican or Chinese, Baby Names.” My adventure into cyberspace soon became a game that I discovered I could never win! There seemed to be interesting and unending information about names.

This project was initiated by a song I recently heard:

I will change your name.
You will no longer be called
Wounded, Outcast, Lonely or Afraid.
I will change your name.
Your new name shall be
Confidence, Joyfulness, Overcoming One.
Faithfulness, Friend of God, One who seeks my face.
(Terry Butler; © 1987 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing)

Some of us love the names we were given by our parents. Others wish to change the name that has perhaps caused ridicule, embarrassment or misunderstanding through the years, but that name has been officially recorded and it takes great time and effort to make an alteration.

We have no indication that the man called Simon particularly wanted a name change; Jesus just took the initiative to give this follower a name that he would “grow into.” Jesus knew that faithlessness would turn into strength, brash action would turn into steady leadership, denial would turn into lifelong commitment.

But the name change process would take risk, experience, failure and, most important, the power of God’s own Spirit. History has proven that the Simon who was often wounded, outcast, lonely and afraid was transformed into a man of confidence, joy, overcoming and faith. And in the process of seeking God’s face, he became the friend of God.

Whatever your name of the past, you have been given a new name! And it is recorded in the annals of heaven.

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