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by Christina Stolaas

Have you ever read something that resonates so loudly within your heart that it just stops you in your tracks? This morning I’m having one of those moments where I feel compelled to sit down and pour my heart out. Though the pace and schedule for today is hectic, I absolutely cannot continue through the motions of the day without capturing a snapshot of the vital truth that has so pierced my heart.
This morning I was reading in John 1 where Jesus called His first disciples to follow Him. I was absolutely floored when I discovered that in the very first interaction Jesus had with Simon, He changed His name to Peter. There was no getting to know each other casual conversation, no parables, no teachings or commands to come and follow Him. What a prime example of, first things first. Jesus simply identified Simon by His man given name, and then said, “…You will be called Cephas.” (Which translates to Peter). (John 1:42)
When I read this I promptly read the study notes on the bottom portion of my Bible and saw that it is noted that Peter means “rock.” It’s also mentioned that Peter was anything but a rock. He was impulsive. Careless. Unstable. Unpredictable. Inconsistent. In other words, Jesus named Him not for what He was, but for what by God’s grace He would become.
Seriously, reading this, made my heart leap for joy!
If you’ve made a commitment to follow Him, He has renamed you! Not for who you are, but for who you will become.
You may have once been named wounded, He calls you healed!
You may have once been named prisoner, He calls you free!
You may have once been named trashed, He calls you treasured!
You may have once been named neglected, He calls you child!

When you meet Jesus— you get a new name. Immediately.  One cannot meet such a Savior and remain unchanged! I’m thankful that the Maker of the Universe, knows me intimately enough, to change my name...not because of who I am….but because of who I will become by His grace!

A book I once read, translated our names in Christ in a way I will never forget… may my new name always be, “I am NOT…but I know I AM.”

Christina Stolaas is an energetic mom to four adorable young kids. In her free time, she enjoys writing, training for roads races, and passionately pursuing a deeper walk with Jesus. Through a rough childhood, she has learned to earnestly trust in the Sovereignty of God and seek to be “fruitful in suffering” as God continues to mold her to His likeness and bring beauty for ashes! (Isaiah 61:3)

(Photography by Brian Ferry)

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