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My New Name
In the book of Revelation chapter 2 the over comers get a new name like Saul became Paul, and Simon became Peter. Have you ever asked God what he calls you?
A few years ago I started attending Dangerous Heart Boot Camps fashioned after John Eldredge’s Ransom Heart Boot Camps put on by an amazing local ministry I am now a part of. One of the really cool aspects of these camps is time to go get alone with God and ask him questions like these, called covenant of silence times.
There is a talk given at the camps called ‘The New Name’ talk and I had heard that talk the first time I went but I couldn’t seem to hear God on the issue. The second boot camp I attended was a much different story.
At that camp during the free time we played paint ball. I had always wanted to play but never had. I was remarkably bad because of my size and lack of speed; I am a very large slow moving target and got shot numerous times. The thing that shocked me was, (I would imagine in a war it would be similar) that I never saw where the shots were coming from before it was too late.
Having been shot at and hit we went into another talk called ‘The Wound’ with the start of a headache from the paintball fiasco. During that talk they played the “D” day landing scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan. That scene is tremendously graphic, shots being fired and killing our Normandy heroes, blood, bullets flashing through underwater scenes causing clouds of blood to rise, it’s almost too much for me to watch to this day I have seen it many times but that day was just after being shot and I felt the war was upon me.
The speaker that day went on to explain that Satan may hate us but he really, really hates God. So when “Satan is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour”, (1Peter 5:8), he looks across the horizon searching for God’s Glory being reflected by someone who is walking with God and in the identity God gave them. Essentially, when you peek your head out of the fox hole and show off God, then Satan comes along and Whacks you like, ‘Whack a Mole’. Satan hates God’s glory and if you are reflecting it then you show up big time. He went on to say that each of us has a unique way that only we reflect God’s glory and if we don’t do it nobody else can.
So if Satan can get you to hide in your fox hole that aspect of God that you reflect will be lost to the world. He went on to explain that by analyzing Satan’s attacks in your life it is a marvelous clue to what aspect of God’s Glory you reflect, your real identity. The speaker himself, Sam Main, had been told as a child by several members of his family constantly, “shut up, you have nothing worth listening to.” and again as a young adult. With these wounds Sam struggled to even give this talk. Satan was attempting to keep Sam’s ability to teach down in his fox hole hidden. However, Sam has a great deal to say and this very talk changed my life forever.
So Sam sent us out to our covenant of silence time that night to analyze our lives and what wounds we may have that would be a clue to our true identity. Like the paint ball game I had experienced we would then know where the shots would be coming from and so encourage us to walk in our true identity and know to protect our hearts from such attacks.
My head hurt so bad I just went back and lay in my bunk eyes closed trying to think about my life’s story and where I had been attacked. All of the sudden God brought back a memory of me attempting suicide. Wow! that was clear back when I was in Albuquerque as a teenager, I could remember taking the sleeping pills but I couldn’t remember why, why would I do such a thing? I thought and thought, all I could think of was something Darrin Koone had said about the normal family. He once shared that often when talking with men about their story he would ask about their childhood and they would tell him, “I had a normal childhood”. Then that person would go onto explain how their mother would get drunk every night and their father would come with a shotgun and blow the back door down or something crazy like that and Darrin would say, “and that was normal?” So I was thinking to myself that perhaps my suicide attempt was along those lines not at all normal and certainly an attack by Satan but, Why, Why did I want to take my own life? I could remember taking a whole bottle of Somenex, sleeping pills and then being so terrified of dying I never went to sleep. The next day I went to school totally dazed but never told anyone what I did.
Lying in my bed I couldn’t remember why I had tried to kill myself, but my head was getting better so I headed for dinner and then the talk on the ‘New Name’.
The speaker shared how God has a name for us just like Peter, Israel, Paul and Abraham, and along those lines that name too would have to do with our Glory, how we reflect God to the world. At the end of that talk they showed a movie clip from the Older Movie Le Miserables where the Bishop shows Jean Valjean grace by not telling the police how he stole the silver but instead gives him the silver candlesticks. This is one of the greatest scenes ever as far as I am concerned illustrating both grace and identity. Although Jean Valjean couldn’t see his own glory the Bishop could and called him out of the fox hole, even pulling back his hood from his head as he charged Jean to become the “New Man” he had promised.
The speaker then sent us out to ask God to pull back our hood and call us by name into our New Identity in a covenant of silence time. I had to go back to Winston Salem that night because the next day I was doing my radio shows. I love to drive and it was a quiet night and a great covenant of silence time with me and God on the hour long way home. So I asked God, “What do you call me?”
I heard “Faithful”, nah, couldn’t be. Faithful, really, can’t I get a cool name like Warrior, Brave One? That sounds like a dog, Old Faithful, really, am I sure I heard this right?”
So I went back and asked, “God I am hearing Faithful is that what you said?”
“Yes, Faithful think about it.” I heard it clearly, so I started to think about that and I reasoned, OK based on Sam’s talk on the wound if my glory is Faithful, if I were Satan how would I attack Faithful?”
Like a shot my memories came flooding back of the suicide attempt. There I was on my sixteenth birthday standing at the door of my girlfriend, Susan Seacrest house waiting for her to see my new car my father had given me, (it was cool a 1971 Javalin, Pierre Cardin edition, Platinum Silver with black interior and a purple stripe that went up the seats that matched the stripe on the sides, a 304 engine, manual transmission, oh my what a car). At the same time my basketball team mate, point guard Brian Duncan, (who was also a good friend and had really supported me on the team), came walking up the driveway as well.
I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was there to pick up Susan, right about then she came to the door and left with him. How would you attack faithful? Betrayal! Years and years of betrayals flashed through my mind right up to losing the dealership from the betrayal of my office manager.
Wow what an insight and so I began to ask God: so what does my faithfulness look like? Then again thousands of memories flooded my mind. My faithfulness to my family, my parents were divorced and I stuck very close to both unlike some of my siblings. I was always faithful to my girl friends and my wife, to friends, and then other ways. Faithful to get up and spend time with God, faithful to be on time and show up for meeting or adventures, faithful to believe God when He called me to do the Christian Car Guy and other callings. Wow, yes God you knew me when I didn’t know myself.
Since that time I have marveled at many new ways to understand faithful and to think that is the way God made me. He continues to unravel all the truth rolled up in that word day by day and adventure after adventure.