What’s In a Name?

For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.”—Ephesians 3:14–15 (HCSB)

I’ve always found names so intriguing. How do parents understand, or more controversially, prophesy over the character and nature of their child while they’re still inhabiting the womb? Many a time I’ve heard people say, “You look like a ‘Cortney.’” And to this day, I question their quick conclusion. “What does a ‘Cortney’ look like?” What attributes do people with the same names share? Is it in the face or in our character? Whatever it is, I find it astonishing that a complete stranger can connect a name with a face and say, “Yes, this is as it should be.”

But a name is more than just an easy identifier when calling it out in a crowd. It connects us to who gave us the name.

When Paul tells us that every family in heaven and earth derives its name from the Father, it’s telling us something about our identities: our names go beyond what our earthly mothers and fathers deem them to be; they reflect our heavenly lineage. When we know and believe that we’ve been named by the Father, we can begin to claim the riches He’s promised to us. Because of this wild grace, we will receive infinite riches in many different forms, now till forever. 1 Peter 1:4 tells us that our inheritance can never perish, spoil, or fade.

As though that isn’t mind-blowing enough, our belonging doesn’t stop there.

Beyond riches, beyond an inheritance, our lineage also defines our belonging in the family of God. Like . . . real, raw, honest, true belonging. On earth, it’s easy to write off friends or family, and even change our names. But our brothers and sisters in Christ can’t be shoved out of the picture. We’re in it for the long haul. Those who are in Christ are truly connected, and when we dwell in community with other Christians, we literally bring heaven to earth. Heaven will be a lot of praising and celebration, but it will also be living in perfect communion with one another, finally perfecting the image of love for one another that the Word has been encouraging us to mirror for generations.

Our Father’s love is so intentional and so wild for us. He named us, gave us community on earth, guaranteed an inheritance that will never fade, and daily brings us closer to Himself and who we are created to be. What a treasure we have in being named by the Father!

DIG: Read Isaiah 43:1, 8; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 10:20; and Ephesians 3:1–15.

DISCOVER: If the heaven part sounds more enjoyable than the living on earth part, then you may not be living out God’s full plan for your life. Are you in community? Are you seeking the presence of God daily? Do you stop and reflect on His goodness and seek His kind fatherhood daily? If not, you’re probably shortchanging yourself and those around you. 

DISPLAY: While it may feel different and new, break down the walls of comfortability that you’ve built for yourself and step into community, prayer, and faith. Don’t be a lackadaisical Christian. Be intentional. Be in constant pursuit of heaven.

About the Author

Cortney Gurr