September 27, 2021
You Have a New Name
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"The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give." Isaiah 62:2 (ESV)
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw a person I rarely see: my father. It shocked me, and I contorted my face until his likeness was unrecognizable. I turned my head to and fro until I caught the angle of my chin and cheeks that favor my mother. That was more like it.
Barely having left the mirror, I felt the tug of conviction beckoning me to turn around and look again. I examined my face intently, following the curve of my thin eyebrows (courtesy of my mother) until they met in the center of my face, leading into the broad expansion of my nose (courtesy of my father). I studied my lips, satisfied that they felt uniquely mine, although my smile exposes full cheeks in homage to my mom. Finally, I pulled back and stared into my eyes, where my father's DNA has made its home.
"You have a new name," I told myself.
I recite this truth on the rare occasion when I am reminded of my birth connection to a man whose sin has wreaked havoc on my family. My father - who battles alcohol dependency and sexually assaulted one of his children - turned our world upside down before I was able to walk without wobbling.
For years, I struggled to love parts of me that betrayed my relation to him, and I carried the shame of how his actions devastated our family. Addiction, abuse, rejection. Our story was the kind shared in a whisper behind the shield of a hand. So, when I caught a glimpse of my father's face in the mirror, I would shudder. I spent years running from my reflection.
Until I learned what it meant to be adopted as a child of Christ.
This biblical story of adoption clarifies why we are called sons and daughters of God, or brothers and sisters in Christ. When we are made new in Christ, our family story takes on a whole new meaning. Our adoption means that, contrary to the facial features that connect us to our mothers and fathers, we recognize we were created in the image of God and chosen, called, justified and glorified as family in a body of believers. (Genesis 1:27; Romans 8:29-30)
In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul describes the future glory that awaits believers, and his description mirrors how Isaiah spoke about Jerusalem in our key verse: "The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give" (Isaiah 62:2).
When Isaiah made this declaration, Jerusalem was in bad shape, marred by corruption and conquered by the Babylonians. It didn't seem like there was much in store for the town's future. But God sent Isaiah with a message of hope affirming that He is a God of redemption and transformation.
When your family's story doesn't align with the ideal image circulated widely throughout culture, it's easy to get distracted by what things look like. However, our adoption story offers me the same hope that Isaiah shared with Jerusalem: No matter how dark and dreadful the circumstances have been in my past - or at times, in my present - my future has been redeemed. I have been transformed, and God rejoices over me. (Isaiah 62:5)
With this truth in mind, I can stand honored in front of the mirror, marveling at my reflection and knowing I am created in the image of my heavenly Father, who has given me a new name.
Father God, when I am feeling distracted or deterred by the darkness of former things, help me to remember that You are the God of redemption and transformation, and You have given me a new name. When I look into the mirror, allow me to see myself and my story as You see me, and allow me to rejoice. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Are you an aspiring writer? Through COMPEL Training's Direct Access: A Writers Book Club, kicking off October 4, you can learn about writing directly from today's devotion writer, Felicia Harris. We are featuring a behind-the-scenes study of the writing of her book, First in the Family: Biblical Truths for Cycle Breakers. Through a private Facebook page, you’ll be given direct access to the author and her editor and learn all the inside tips they used while writing and editing this book.
Connect with Felicia on Twitter.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Genesis 32:28, "Then he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.'" (ESV)
What past stories or beliefs about yourself have been preventing you from fully embracing your newness in Christ?
How does knowing that you have a new name inspire you to look at yourself or your story differently? Let us know in the comments!
© 2021 by Felicia Harris. All rights reserved.