ODB: What’s Your Name?

Someone said we go through life with three names: the name our parents gave us, the name others give us (our reputation), and the name we give ourselves (our character). The name others give us matters, as “a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). But while reputation is important, character matters more.

There’s yet another name that’s even more important. Jesus told the Christians in Pergamum that though their reputation had suffered some well-deserved hits, He had a new name reserved in heaven for those who fight back and conquer temptation. “To the one who is victorious, I will give . . . a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it” (Revelation 2:17).

We aren’t sure why Jesus promised a white stone. Is it an award for winning? A token for admission to the messianic banquet? Perhaps it’s similar to what jurors once used to vote for acquittal. We simply don’t know. Whatever it is, God promises our new name will wipe away our shame (see Isaiah 62:1–5).

Our reputation may be tattered, and our character may be seemingly beyond repair. But neither name ultimately defines us. It’s not what others call you nor even what you call yourself that matters. You are who Jesus says you are. Live into your new name.

— Mike Wittmer