“Remember Whose Name You're Wearing.”
When I was in high school, my dad said that to me every time I left the house for a birthday party, summer camp, or any other major event. He would often explain that I bear the name of our family and of Christ, so I should represent those names with honor.
His paternal charge is more meaningful to me today than it was in my childhood. As a kid, I simply obeyed out of fear of failure. Sometimes I did fail. I didn’t remember whose name I was wearing, or I cared more about my own name than the reputation of any other.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand that this phrase is not just a moralistic mantra that directs my choices or keeps me loyal to the Todd family; it is a maxim of my membership in the family of God.
A moralistic mantra says that I earn my name by good behavior. But good works are not the means by which I gain my membership in the family. Rather, the family name was given to me as a gift. I already possess the name, and I now represent the maxim of my membership in the good works that I do for God's glory.
Whose name do you wear?
We all wear a name. We might clothe ourselves with names that have no power - names of people who we idolize, or our own names. We put on names that replace the name of Jesus.
Every Christian wears the name of Christ because He lives in us (Galatians 2:20). We did not bring a petition form of good works to the civil court of heaven and ask that our name be changed to His (Philippians 2:9). Christ brought his own petition of a perfect life and signed it in his blood so that the Highest name of all could be given to the lowest of us. We are children of God because of the love of God, which was shown to us through the Son of God (1 John 5:1).
Though this is true, we sometimes struggle to feel comfortable in the name of Jesus because of sin. When we sin, we feel like we don’t belong or think that God adopted the wrong child. When we feel like we don’t belong, we must remember that we are children of God, and our familial rights were not earned. They were given freely and abundantly (Ephesians 1:5).
What do we gain when we remember whose name we’re wearing?
We gain confidence that God will never remove His name from us.
All the rights and privileges that come from our membership in God’s family are eternal. Trials, pain, persecution, disappointment, death, and despair cannot thwart the confidence we have in our blood- bought adoption (Romans 8:35).
We gain all the promises of God.
Since God adopted us and gave us His name, we are heirs of the Kingdom (Galatians 4:6-7). We are descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), which means that the covenant God made with Abraham is also ours: “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants...to be God to you and to your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7). We have received the fullness of God as our inheritance (Colossians 1:15-23). These are just a sample of the many promises that God makes to His sons and daughters.
We gain endurance in the face of trials and persecution.
We persevere through trials, die to our flesh, and have eternal life because Jesus did. “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you...But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me” (John 15: 21-22). All hardship is endurable because we are
God’s children, and God will hold us tight forever.
We gain unity with those that share His name.
Every time an adopted child hears their new last name, they are reminded that they are no longer left behind or orphans, but now family members. Jesus’ prayer for us before he went to the cross was, “Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are” (John 17:11). We are unified by His name.
So, Christians, remember whose name you’re wearing. It is the maxim of your membership in the family of God.