My name was supposed to be Melissa Dawn. My mother was convinced that she was going to have a girl. So convinced, she had a special suitcase put together with the dress she wanted me to wear home, along with a special pink blanket and a lot of other things. Sadly, after Mom passed away, my dad gave me that suitcase, still packed with the clothes I never wore. (Any psychiatrists want a case study?)
So my name was supposed to be Melissa Dawn, and in the odd case I would happen to be a boy, my parents had chosen the name Aaron James Lively….what? Wait a minute, so where did the name Clifton Brocke Lively come from? The answer is simply this, in the 1970s they gave out a lot of really good drugs to women in labor. I know that sounds crass, but when you would ask my mom where my name came from, that would be her answer. Aaron James had a logical reason behind it. Aaron (the Robin to Moses’ Batman) was one of my mom’s favorite Bible characters, and James is my dad’s name, so that’s where that came from. Clifton is my grandfather’s name, so that makes sense, but here is where the drugs kick in. Brocke comes from a character on the soap opera “The Young and The Restless,” named Brock Reynolds. So if I were to live up to my name I’d have to be a junk dealer/soap opera lawyer; I smell a sitcom.
But to be honest I’ve been called many names, some good, and some bad. Some have been unjustly cast upon me, some I have earned; just the other night my wife told me that my Native American name was now “Silent-But-Deadly.” Sadly she wasn’t referring to my ninja-like hunting skills, but I digress.
Among some of the more popular names I have been called are Husband, Dad, Provider, Friend, and the ever important Christian.
A lot of people take the name Christian, but do they ever truly live up to that name? Adam had a simple rule when naming the animals: If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck and swims like a duck it’s a duck. Taking that simple framework, would he be able to call you a Christian?
There are a lot of people who think becoming a Christian simply means saying a prayer and automatically you get a get into heaven card. But think about that logic. Does it work?
A few weeks ago I went to a wedding. A friend’s daughter was getting married in a pretty outdoor sunset ceremony. They both said their vows. Everyone watched them commit their lives to each other, and now all through our town she is now known by her new name. But what if after the ceremony she went back to her mom’s house. Kept doing “her own thing”, and once a week showed up at the field where we held the ceremony hoping to see her new husband. Would the marriage be real? Would it even work? Of course not!
But how many people do the same thing with God? I love the imagery in Ephesians 5: 22-33:
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Paul was trying to find the best way to explain how we should be in relationship with God. For centuries God was the Father, and our place was the subordinate child. But through Jesus, that changed. Instead of living to please a father, our new purpose is to live in relationship with the groom, Jesus. Would that marriage work if we only show up once a week, to spend an hour or two with him? To have a true relationship with Jesus we need to wake up each morning with Him, spend every minute thinking of Him. Making our every decision based upon how it not only affects our self, but how it affects our relationship with Him.
First things first, have you taken a “vow” to Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you have, did you just say the words, or was it truly a commitment? Have you taken the name Christian, or are you living it? Do you walk like a Christian? Quack like a Christian? And swim like a Christian? Or is it just a name you call yourself?