fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? by Julie McAllen

I love the name Jehovah and still use it liberally. I am no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the sense of belonging to an organization, but I am still a witness to His Name.

As a JW, I made much over “knowing God’s name.” I could whip out Psalm 83:18 faster than John Wayne could draw a pistol. Most churches don’t use the name Jehovah and I viewed that as unChristian and worldly. But do JWs know God’s name really? I am not talking about the tetragrammaton or the correct pronunciation, I’m speaking of His name as a Strong Tower.

When we first meet someone, we get their name. Hi I’m Julie. You may run into someone and they may say, “Oh Julie, yes, I know Julie!” But what do you both know of me? One knows some things and the other knows something different. Do you know my occupation? My relatives? My hobbies? Where I went to school? Favorite food? Musical tastes? Talents? Regrets? My joys and fears? What can set me off? My husband would know things about me that no one else here knows. As it is with every relationship in our lives. We just know some folks by name and with others we share a deeper intimacy. It is the same with God.

When I first came to Jesus Christ I knew so little. All I understood was that he was the Son of God. That was the first NAME I understood, “Son of God”. I read that and believed it. I wanted to be on his side but had no idea what he wanted to teach me or where he would lead me, yet I asked to be put in his hands. He became my shepherd, though I didn’t give him that name at the time. He became my teacher and I his disciple. I needed a Father first and he introduced me to Jehovah very early in my Christian walk. Jehovah was law giver, judge, disciplinarian, the righteous standard. There is nothing wrong with that knowledge of Him. I learned a lot of good things at the Kingdom Hall about my God Jehovah and I am thankful for the time I spent there. But Jehovah became so limited. In fact, when the Watchtower became my mediator and severed the Spirit from me, they told me exactly who Jehovah was so I didn’t have to find out on my own through a growing relationship with Him. Since leaving the Watchtower and allowing the Spirit to speak into my life, Jehovah has become so much bigger! And that’s where The Name comes in.

I have a poster in my home with the names of Jesus on it. Yes, the Son of God was given the name Jesus Christ, but he has more names than that. Remember Isaiah 9:6? And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, etc. etc. etc. He has been called the Fine Shepherd, A Man of Sorrows, Teacher, High Priest, The Truth, The Word, King, and many more names. I look at that and realize there are names that mean much more to me than others. Why? Because I KNOW Jesus as the Fine Shepherd, a Wonderful Counselor, my Strong Deliverer, Jehovah-Rohi and Jehovah-Shalom. I’ve come into that intimacy of experiencing His presence in those areas. I do not really know him personally as The Resurrection or as a Healer/Great Physician as I’ve never experienced losing someone I love to death or prayed fervently for physical healing and felt it. Those names I’m sure are powerful to someone else who has experienced Jesus in those situations. So I think it’s important to look at all the names of God and ask ourselves “Who is He to me personally?” It is one thing to know that God has a name to proclaim, but another to experience the many names personallyas we continue on in a relationship with Him. And the neat thing is that we are all on a one-on-one journey with Him. Therefore, we each learn something about him at our own pace and according to who we need him to be for us in our unique situations. Some people know Jesus as Jehovah right away. Not me. It took me about 12 years into my Christian life to realize that they are One. Some people experience him first as a healer. When I look in the Bible, that is the first encounter for many people. Jesus healed lepers, demoniacs, mutes and blind people before becoming their teacher. And that makes sense as many people call out to Jesus for the first time in their lives when under pressure of illness or impending death. Others came to him first as a teacher seeking guidance in their lives. Some witnessed a miracle and encountered him as Jehovah-Jirah, the one who provides. How did you first encounter God? What name did you understand and embrace?

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie


March 17, 2009 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , ,

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