ArticlesPoetry Jul 30, 2018 Names That Fade
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Creator and author, thinkheaven.com

Small hand in big hand, Joel walks down the street wear­ing his fa­ther’s left palm like an over­sized mit­ten. Al­ready a mas­ter at dodg­ing the large dan­ger­ous chasms in the side walk, Joel’s eyes be­gin to wan­der in search for some­thing in­ter­est­ing. “Dad­dy, who is that?” And his dad, fol­low­ing the path of his fin­ger, replies, “Oh, that’s Mr. Smith.” Un­in­ter­est­ed in this un­in­ter­est­ing an­swer, Joel asks, “Who’s Mr. Smith?” His dad paus­es, re­mem­ber­ing the day his friend, James Smith, walked down the aisle and gave his life to Je­sus. He re­mem­bers Mr. Smith’s sub­se­quent bat­tle to be free from al­co­hol, the many awards he won for his teach­ing and the long nights spent at his house weep­ing with him af­ter his wife passed away. Then Joel’s fa­ther looks down at his son and says, “Mr. Smith is a Chris­t­ian.” “Oh,” says Joel in mo­men­tary sat­is­fac­tion. Five chasms lat­er he asks, “What’s a Chris­t­ian?” And so the walk con­tin­ued.

Let us leave the cozy hearth be­tween their hands and pon­der for a sec­ond. The fa­ther’s an­swer doesn’t seem full. In­stead of Chris­t­ian, Mr. Smith could have been called an al­co­holic, a teacher, a wid­ow­er or maybe a pride­ful man who propped up his self-es­teem with mean­ing­less planks of wood and chrome. So what about you? Who does the world say you are? Who do you say you are? Who does God say you are? Who will you be­lieve?

Oth­er Names

One month ago, I was in church as we were singing a song by Matt Red­man called Wide As The Sky. By the sec­ond rep­e­ti­tion, I no­ticed the lyrics tap tap knock­ing on my heart. “Let all the oth­er names fade away // let all the oth­er names fade away // un­til there’s only You.” Three lines, 11 unique words that deft­ly de­scribe the en­tire­ty of the Chris­t­ian walk. Like Joel, as I walk to­day with My Fa­ther God, I rem­i­nisce that all the dan­gers I have faced in the dark chasms of the shad­ow of death were noth­ing more than bad names. The dan­ger was not in the cir­cum­stance. The dan­gers were ei­ther the dark names the world want­ed me to wear or weak names I claimed for my­self. And yet none of them could swal­low me or bury the light I am. Not be­cause I am strong no. I am still His son be­cause God, my Good and Holy Fa­ther, nev­er stopped call­ing me His Name.

Now, as I look back, I see all the names that came and tried to stay but even­tu­al­ly fad­ed away. And I pray, all the more I pray, “Let all the oth­er names fade away, un­til there’s only You.” For His Name is a Strong Tow­er. His Name makes every knee bow and every tongue con­fess that Je­sus Is Lord. His Name is like the staff of Moses that swal­lows up every oth­er name the world seeks to give you.

And yet, like the snakes of the Egypt­ian ma­gi­cians, I of­ten find my­self mes­mer­ized and threat­ened by the names the world con­sis­tent­ly of­fers me. The name “smart” promis­es vi­sion, “beau­ty” promis­es self-es­teem and “hus­band” promis­es love. And yet, and yet, will my es­teem will fade as my beau­ty ages? Will my in­tel­li­gence make me lone­ly with vi­sion? Will my wife leave me, even if I am a good hus­band? And so I am mes­mer­ized and threat­ened. I am pulled for­ward and re­pelled. I am pet­ri­fied by my fear of and de­sire for what I could be. This is the prob­lem with the names the world of­fers and the names I try to give my­self. The world may have the pow­er to in­vent names and of­fer names but the world lacks the pow­er to give them.

Je­sus

Not so with God Almighty. God’s Pow­er is em­bed­ded in every name He Gives. He called Abram (ex­alt­ed fa­ther) Abra­ham (fa­ther of many na­tions) long be­fore the man had one child. Al­though He knew that Si­mon (lis­ten) would deny Him three times, Je­sus still called him Pe­ter (rock) who preached so that Je­sus be­came Christ to 3000 peo­ple. In Num­bers 6:27, God gives the priests an in­junc­tion to “put His Name upon the peo­ple.” The peo­ple in the tem­ple are sprin­kled with the blood of goats and sheep be­cause they bear His Name. And in Ezekiel 39:25, God says that He Will be Jeal­ous over His Holy Name. He Is Zeal­ous to pur­sue and re­claim all who have re­ceived His Name. Fi­nal­ly in Rev­e­la­tions 2:17, God promis­es a new name to any­one that over­comes the world by hold­ing fast to the Name of Je­sus Christ. Re­ceive the Name of Je­sus. Cling to the Name of Je­sus. Sub­mit to Him, obey Him and all the oth­er names will fade away.

Now with all these vers­es in my head, it be­came clear that this song by Matt Red­man is a dis­til­la­tion of a heav­en­ly vi­sion. When he saw it, I can imag­ine that tears welled up in his eyes as they now do in mine. Broth­er Red­man is de­scrib­ing the day all Chris­tians all seek and look for­ward to; the day when we will be free from the op­pres­sion of names that do not be­long to us. “Let all the oth­er names fade away, un­til there’s only You. Je­sus, take your place. Je­sus take your place.

“Knowledge is any relationship we experience through our relationship with Jesus Christ.”

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