Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Living Named

If the Book of Life is merely a record of the things that you have done with the time that God has given you and if your name is written in it only when you do those things that honor the name that God has given you, then what we have to understand about the Book of Life is that God has not arbitrarily recorded anything in it; 

we determine what is written on its pages.

And that means that there is certain way that we ought to live our lives, something that we ought to be doing with them. I think that something is that we ought to be working our way closer and closer to the names that God has given us, closer and closer to sharing our heartbeat with Him, His in us, with every step.

We are told that when we stand before God, when we read through the Book of Life that records our deeds, God will tell us what our name always was, what He had in mind when He created us. Some of us spend part of our time here wondering what that name might be, agonizing over what seems perhaps unknowable, wondering if we are missing out on the lives that God designed for us because we haven't a clue what He called us when He knit us together in our mother's womb. 

How are we ever supposed to do anything worthy of our name if we do not even know what our name is? How does it come to be written in the book of it purely by accident? Sometimes, we just stumble upon it and do something good, completely unbeknownst to us at the time?

Of course not. 

This is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is responsible for guiding us toward what God has planned for us, for affirming and confirming in us the very nature that God has given us. It's the Holy Spirit that whispers into our hearts whether a thing is right or wrong, whether something that we're thinking about will bring God's glory or not. It is the Holy Spirit that enables us sometimes to glimpse that glory, even when we don't understand it, for it is that glimpse that confirms to us that we are on the right path.

The longer we live listening to the Holy Spirit, guided by Him, the more often, I think, our names start to show up in our own stories. Adam was "the man;" Eve was "the woman." But as their stories go on, they become more firmly Adam and Eve, and this does not come as much of a surprise to anyone. Look at how they are living, how they are doing just what God created them to do. When they don't, they become the man and the woman again, but overwhelmingly, increasingly, they are Adam and Eve. God formed "the man," but Adam died. He made "the woman," but it was Eve who left her legacy. 

So as our stories go on, as our pages turn, our names ought to become more frequent in their passages. Our names ought to become more common and more common until of course that is who we are. Anyone reading the early pages of our story might recognize us in the man or the woman, but they should smile and nod as the Book of Life continues when our name starts to surface. Ah, yes. I knew that that woman must be ________. Or it makes perfect sense that the man would be _______.

And when God hands us this stone that has upon it our name, it's no surprising name. When He reads us our story and this character, this creature, this image of God starts to appear under this name, it's no shock at all. It is brilliant understanding, perfect affirmation. For we will know by that time where the Spirit has been leading us. We will know those things in our lives that brought us great joy, that felt somehow holier than we ever could have been, that gave us glimpses of God's glory and assurances of His presence. What we will finally understand in that moment is only how deeply this thread was truly woven through our lives. We shall see what our name has been, read it in our story, watch it dance across the page more often and more often and more often, and we shall say, "Ah, yes."

Of course.

There is my name. And would you look at that? 

By the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is written in the Book of Life. For in my finest moments, however unaware, I have lived up to it and given a glimpse of God's glory into the world. Hallelujah.

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