Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (ESV)
Have you ever looked up the origin and meaning of your name? Some families name children after other family members. This was not the case for me. I did some checking and found out my name, Yvonne, is french and refers to the Yew tree. Back in olden days, bows were made from Yew wood so the name may have referred to an archer. I find it interesting to learn the history behind my name.My parents picked this name because they liked it.
My given name will always be Yvonne but my last name changed when I married and I took on my husband’s name as my own. I took on a new identity as I became Mrs and the name change reflected my new marital status. I also received a new identity when I had children and became mom to them.
Naming conventions vary among cultures. In Kenya, for example, a bride takes on her husband’s first name as her new last name. I would become Yvonne Bill using their custom. In a male dominate society such as Kenya, this name shows I belong to Bill. Many children are named based on a time of day or weather event. The name Achieng means born at mid-day and Okoth means born during the rainy season. Family and friend always understand when someone was born based on their name.
In countries like Nepal, a person sometimes changes their first name when they accept Christ into their lives. The usually pick a name out of the Bible for their new identity. Someone born as Kumar might pick the name John as his Christian name. This change announces the person’s new-found belief in Christ to their world.
Our names and how we got them are very important to us and to our family. It identifies us as part of something larger than ourselves. We belong to a family, a community or a clan. As I read all about names, I think the most important aspect for me, is the knowledge that Christ knows my name. When we follow Christ, He adopts us into His family and we become sons and daughters. Galatians 3:26 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” We even take on a new name in the family of God, we become Christians, meaning Christ like. How exciting is that new name. This is one name I don’t ever plan on changing.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”