I’m in the witness protection program

When you are in Christ, you have a new identity.  The old you is gone; you even get a new name.

In one of the songs he’s written, D.J. Butler imagines the sorts of names God wants to give us

—– Joyfulness.
———- Overcoming one.
—– Faithfulness.
———- Friend of God.
————— One who seeks [His] face.

God invites us to stop thinking of ourselves and labelling ourselves as we did when we didn’t know Him.  He invites us to receive new names from Him that reflect the new life we have in Christ.

As encouraging as that is, it gets even better. In baptism, we all receive one name in particular: God’s own. He puts His name on us.

Remember the scene in the first Toy Story movie where Buzz Lightyear has been kidnapped by Sid, the evil kid next door?  He’s dejected and doesn’t care that Sid plans to tie him to a bottle rocket and blast him to “infinity and beyond.”  Buzz has discovered that, contrary to what he originally thought, he is just a toy; he is not really the Buzz Lightyear as seen on TV and there are thousands of other identical toys just like him being sold at stores everywhere.  Thankfully, Woody the cowboy convinces Buzz that there is something unique about him: There’s a boy next door named Andy who loves him and needs him back.  Buzz knows this is true when he looks at the bottom of his right space boot and sees the letters A – N – D – Y.  The mark on the bottom of his boot reminds Buzz to whom he belongs, which gives his animated life joy and purpose again.

The mark we receive when we’re baptized is God’s own name, a sign and seal that we are His.  He claims us for now and for eternity.

All this talk about new names reminds me of the Witness Protection Program: When your life is threatened, the police create a new identity for you.  Your old address, old phone number, old job, and old life get replaced.  As far as anyone is concerned, the old you simply doesn’t exist anymore.

God gives us a new identity.  Satan still comes around looking for us, wanting to claim us as his own.  He’ll prowl around where we used to hang out, but God in essence says to him, “The person you’re looking for is no longer here.  They’re safe and protected for all eternity, so you can just leave.”

As Greg Laurie writes,

Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we no longer have to be under the power of Satan.  This does not mean we will never be tempted.  It does not mean we are not vulnerable to temptation.  But it does mean Satan has no rights over our lives.  We were under his control, but Jesus paid the price for our redemption.

From Finding Hope in the Last Words of Jesus
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009), pp. 42-43.

Paul writes to the Corinthians that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ…”

What new name would you like to see applied to yourself?  How is it evident that God has put His very own name on you?

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