But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1......"From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus." Galatians 6:17
I recently heard a woman named Allison Allen talk about something she does in her itinerant ministry. As people come, they are given a blank name card. She then asks each person to write down on that card the word or words that they think truly describe them, or who others see them as. She said that almost always, the words used are harsh, even destructive. Then, in the course of her ministering to them, she shares with them the reality of the healing Christ. The One who really does make all things new. The One who really does transform. The One who wipes away all the disgraces of the past. She concludes with asking them to now write on those same cards the word or words that they think Jesus Christ would use to describe them. At the end of one of her gatherings, a man came up and just stood before her. He had tears in his eyes, and was so overcome with emotion that he couldn't speak. She saw he was clutching his card. She asked him if she could see it. With a shaking hand he gave it to her. On the card was written, "Convicted Felon." She took out her own pen, crossed those words out and wrote above them, "Forgiven." And that man, weeping in joy and though long a believer, received that truth, and with it, his new name and identity.
In that simple exchange, an even deeper picture came to me concerning His healing, freeing love. His church is filled with people, young and old alike, who carry around mental and emotional name cards that describe and define them according to the devil's and world's definitions and measures. Failure. Cheat. Liar. Betrayer. Adulterer. Divorced. Loser. Forgotten. Ignored. Unseen. Rejected. Second Class. Not Good Enough. The list of names is endless. The pain that goes with them is too. Those names and words hold us in chains, tormenting us, isolating us, keeping us from others, and worse, keeping us from Him. He bids us to come to Him, with all our name cards, and give them to Him. And when we do this, He takes them, and with the ink of His precious blood, crosses of that word or words, and writes in that blood, All things new in Me. And along with that come His words of description for us. Free. Lovely. Favored. Cherished. Precious. Beloved. Honored. Lifted Out. Lifted Up. Hope. Beauty. Glory. His names for us are unending, as is His power to make them our reality. What we have been, had done to us, been known as, or perceived as, all their power has been broken in Him. Like Paul, we announce that they can no longer trouble or hold us. We bear on our hearts and souls, the brand marks of Christ. Like the old hymn says, We've a new name written down in glory, and it's mine, oh yes it's mine.
So, no matter your place in life right now, in your relationships, profession, ministry, or journey as a follower of the King, what words and names have you allowed the enemy and the world he works through to write on your name card? How tightly are you held in their grip of lies? Can you dare to bring those cards that were never given you by Him, to Him? To place them in His hand and behold Him to cross that name, those words off in the ink of His blood, and the power of His cross. And in that blood, and by His cross, write His new name and words for you? No matter how long you've been carrying that false name card, its power is broken in Christ. He invites you to come, name card and all, and receive His new name and words.....for you. A new name sealed by His blood.