In a recent semester I was in a creative class for my major. We started off the semester with some innovative ways to try to remember each other’s names better and get to know our classmates, and one of the games we played required us to come up with something that rhymed with our names to say to the class.
Now, I have always hated this game. It never fails that I am always stuck as Crabby Abby no matter how hard I try to say otherwise. So, this time, I thought I was being clever and ahead of the ball when it came around to my turn.
“My name is Abby, and I am NOT crabby.”
Of course, as I’m sure you could assume, it didn’t stick. All semester I was Crabby Abby all over again (*Cue exasperated sigh and facepalm).
As silly as that is, a name is important! And all I wanted all semester was to not be crabby. Have you ever looked at who you are, things you’ve done, or decisions you’ve made and wished you could be totally different?
The good news is, God makes all things new.
First, he renames us.
We see countless times in scripture that God gives his people a new name. Saul became Paul after a life changing encounter with God. Abram became Abraham when he entered a covenant relationship with God; this signified the promise God would fulfill to Abraham of being a father of many nations. These symbolic name changes allude to a much deeper change. When you encounter God, you receive a new identity.
Second, God makes us new by refining us (Ps. 66:10-12).
We were originally created in the likeness of God – pure. As sinners, the process of getting back to our original form looks like refinement, which really isn’t pleasant. And while the process itself is anything but comfortable (Is. 48:10), it happens so that we can be restored to our original purpose to serve and praise our Lord (Job 23:10).
Third, each and every day, God renews his mercy for us.
Have you ever had a fight with a friend and felt that something was still wrong even after you’ve made up? Better yet, have you ever told someone you’ve forgiven them but in the back of your mind you’re still dwelling on what they did to you? We all do it, but thankfully God doesn’t. He gives us new mercy every day, blessing us beyond what we deserve with forgiveness we may not have even asked for yet (Lam. 3:22-23). Each day we are renewed in his eyes.
Whether it’s a name, who you’ve been, the things you’ve been through, or the things you’ve done, God has the ability to create something brand new. Who we were is no longer who we are.
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