What’s in a name?

I wonder if I’m wrong.

You ever had that thought?

About life, about God, about how I am.

I was reading something the other day, and I got to a point in the message where the person began speaking of G_d. G_d? What is that? I stopped. Why didn’t the person say “GOD”? What is so wrong with using His name? It wasn’t in vain. It wasn’t perverse. In fact, what they were sharing was profound, and yet, they couldn’t type out one more letter and say, “God.” Bizarre.

Instantly I understood and grieved this decision. I understood, because we often forget that He IS holy and majestic and far beyond the realm of mere letters. I grieved because I thought back (not that I actually remembered) to the time before Christ, the time when the name of God was considered so sacred that even the common man was ashamed to speak it for fear that he wasn’t worthy. I thought back to the segregation that meant for the “wise and the learned” versus the everyday Joe. I thought of the authority of the priest that looked down his nose at those that he saw inferior because they were not in right blood line, the chosen race, the beloved People.

Then I thought of the Priest that did away with all of that! Who erased the lines, embraced the masses, and had the audacity to stand before man and not only address the name made up of only consonants, but to call Him Father! Jesus, fully man, fully God gave His life not so that we would stumble over a key, unable to type or speak that Holy Name, but to make that name accessible to all!

I decided to do a search. I am willing to admit I am wrong. So, I began in the old testament…I skimmed over the laws (seriously, I didn’t have all day), looked at the stories and followed it all through Revelation, and what I found was beautiful! What I saw was that not only has God’s name always been accessible to His creation, but all along, book after book, we see that His name changes, grows, diversifies, and solidifies. He is the God that Provides, and the God that Sees, the God that saves and rescues, the God that wrestles and concedes. He is the God that knows and the God that hears, the God that is with us, and the God that was and is to come. He is the beginning and the end. He is the King, the Lover, the Mother, the Shepherd, the Father, the Keeper, the Protector, and the One that fights for us. He is a Strong Tower, and the Lily of the Valley. He is Light and He is Truth, our Redeemer and our Friend. The Holy One, the Name above all names, the Counselor, the Teacher, and He, more than once referred to Himself as I AM! People have been renaming Him and calling on Him in all sorts of ways for centuries, and yet my dear brother in Christ stumbles over a letter!

Now, maybe you are left with a question. “If all these names aren’t taking His name in vain, if all names are accessible to us, and yet we are still told time and time again to keep His name holy, how do we do this?” Well, it’s simple but it requires work. Yep. Grace is not devoid of work. Here is the answer, “Then His name will be honored because of the way you live.” (2 Thess. 1:12) The truth is, we can leave out letters, and type in hieroglyphics, and speak in jumbled consonants, but if we aren’t giving glory  to God through the way we live our lives, the holiest of pronunciations are nothing more than “appearances.” Because God only hears the language of the heart, and a convicted heart, a saved heart, a rescued heart calls on His Name in a million different ways at all times and lives His love out loud, and this to Him is the highest praise!

So, no. I’m not buying into the latest “Bring old school religion back” phase. I’m walking forward, in the freedom that Christ afforded me. I am not only speaking the name of God with vigor and with joy, I’m calling Him Provider, and Healer, and all the other names that He has proven Himself to be time and again, and I’m also making use of the name Jesus freed up for me to use, Daddy! And, I don’t feel the tsk of His tongue like an old Jewish priest; I feel the light of His smile, because that’s the way He wants it! He wants us to speak His name, to revel in it, to marvel at it, and to understand it…not as something untouchable or too holy to pronounce, but to fulfill His greatest desire “that we should be called Children of God.” Now that’s a name I’m proud of!

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