In many cultures one’s name is very important. It carries meaning. In the Bible we learn why people received their particular name. For example, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations,” and Simon became Peter meaning “rock.” In the US, carrying on the “family name” is important – or, at least, it was in my family. I come from a family of five children. Both of my brothers had all girls, so there were no sons to carry on the family name. What is interesting is that the sisters felt the importance of our name, so that when we married, we kept our maiden name “Christian” as a middle name. That is why I go by Sharon Christian Brobst. The relationship that I had with my father, and consequently my keeping his name, was very important to me. (Yes, my maiden name was Christian!)
In high school chapel last week the worship team led us in a song that I had not heard before. It was called, “Death was Arrested,” a song recorded in 2015 by North Point InsideOut band. The high school students always do such a wonderful job leading us, but when Abby Hunter began singing, I was stopped in my tracks.
In the second verse, she sang: My orphan heart was given a name.
Two weeks ago I spoke about what we are given when we become Christians. I said that we are adopted into the family of God as God’s children. In Ephesians chapter 1, the Apostle Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus that God “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself.” When we become Christians, we are also given Jesus’ name. “Christian” means follower of Christ. It’s a derivative of Jesus Christ’s name, and it implies that we are His. In the song the high school students sang, we are referred to as an orphan who is adopted into Christ’s family and given His name. It’s more than just a name; it’s an identity. It’s a relationship. It means we belong to Him. We are part of His family.
When I had my first son, I named him Daniel Christian Brobst. I wanted him to identify with my father, his grandfather, and our family. My father, Russell Christian, was a godly man who was in Christian service, mostly as a pastor, for over 50 years. I grew up as Pastor Christian’s daughter. In a way, my life was defined by who my father was. That’s the way it is with God as our father. We are not just wandering through life with no identity and no purpose. We have been chosen by God to be His adopted sons and daughters. What a most amazing gift! He has given us His name!
(If you’d like to listen to the song I referred to, here is a link.)
Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.