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SERMONETTE: Christ has changed our name to 'beloved'

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I recently read an inspiring devotional titled, “I Will Change Your Name.” Author Tony Robinson reflects on biblical accounts where a life-changing transformation is signaled by God changing a person’s name. There are literal name changes, such as Jacob to Israel. Sometimes, however, a God-given name change may not be so obvious, yet it is every bit as powerful.

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When Jesus encounters a woman with a chronic bleed, an ailment that BURRIS has effectively named her “unclean” and “outcast,” he renames her “daughter,” signaling she is no longer outcast but belongs. The devotional ends by noting that many of us carry shame-based names assigned to us like “unlovable,” “stupid” or “worthless,” and that God, through Christ Jesus, is in the business of healing the deep wounds such branding infl icts upon us. In Christ, we come to know we are “beloved” and “valued” by God.

I would add this reminder. Those shame-based names may have a powerful hold on us. Thankfully, the power of Christ’s healing love is ultimately stronger. Nevertheless, some of us journey with Christ a long time before we truly come to believe He has already changed our name to “beloved.” I committed my life to Christ in early childhood, yet it took the love and acceptance of many caring Christians I met along my life’s journey before Christ’s love was made real to me. Then, I could fi nally accept that in Christ I am accepted, loved and lovable.

I share this because we dare not forget that our telling others of the hope we share in Christ is often just a seed-planting operation. That seed needs the nurturing care of the Spirit working through the friendship, encouragement and acceptance of other Christians before it can grow and mature into full bloom within us.

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