What's in a name?

by Christine Berglund

Names are important to us. I always spell my last name quickly when I give it, to avoid the usual misspelling.

As a little girl, I answered to Teeny, short for Teeny Tiny Tina. Literally, that nickname does not fit anymore! Tina was my nickname, inherited from my aunt Christine who had a similar nickname, but with a Czech twist.

Christine has long been my preferred name because of the meaning. It is a name I would have picked if I had the opportunity to choose it myself. My fondest hope would be that the feminine form of “Christian” defines me!

Much has been written about names of God in the Bible. My focus here is on the flower names, Lily of the Valley, Rose of Sharon, mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

There is some question about whom they refer to, but they are two of my favorites. You may suspect by now that whatever is currently blooming seems to be my favorite. Suffice it to say that the inspired writers compared our blessed Savior to some of his finest creations.

The graceful arching stems of the Lily of the Valley, with their pure white, happy row of curly-edged bells is absolutely breathtaking. But don’t let it take your breath away before you get a whiff of the sweet fragrance! It has to be the loveliest smell in the world.

I had tried for a long time to grow them in my overheated Tennessee garden, without success. A friend at church gave me a start of them three years ago, and this year they bloomed! Seeing them in the shade garden made this song run through my head:

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me.
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay,
He tells me every care on Him to roll;
He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star;
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

“And there is salvation innoone else; for there isnoothernameunder heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NASB).

Forget what you learned in sensitivity training, or in high school “Religions of the World” class. There is a difference between Christianity and other religions, and it starts with the name of Jesus.

There are so many Biblical terms we use for God and for Jesus.

  • The Way
  • The Vine
  • Friend
  • Brother
  • Lord
  • Savior
  • King
  • Master
  • Emmanuel
  • Teacher
  • Lord of Hosts
  • God is Peace
  • The God Who Sees
  • Lamb of God

But we need to honor him with those names in our hearts and our actions, and not simply give lip service.

“Calling on his name” was used to describe Paul’s conversion to Christianity and his baptism into Christ in Acts 22:16. The term here indicates obedience rather than simply verbal assent.

Jesus was clear on this subject in Luke 6:46. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” This same thought is expanded in Matthew 7, where he even stated that he never knew those who professed him without truly following him.

My “Lily of the Valley” will give fragrance and joy into my life, but only if I work at it; cultivating, caring, and paying attention to its place in my garden. Let’s also honor God in both words and our actions.

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