A New Name

So a vital relationship with Christ can transform anyone

Meditation Thought: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

In these few words, Paul describes the interchange and the reliability upon one another that constitute the relationship of God with His faithful people.

God does call upon us to do His work – and when we respond by faith, resolve and our efforts, He releases His power to aid us. What is difficult is the initiating of our own movement once we recognize we should make it.

Prayer is a great help in this, as is the trust that God will work good for us when we serve Him faithfully. Despite the troubles that have come to Christians, and do come to Christians, the joy of the Lord penetrates and uplifts – and is encouragement to the participants and to those who observe.

Paul also makes a point that as we glorify Christ, He glorifies us: that must be the key factor that gives strength and courage beyond the ordinary. I hadn’t thought about my being glorified in Christ – but to know of the changes that took place in the people who knew Christ, and believed Him, and the ones who have come to know Him through faith after His death and resurrection, does verify this statement. To know Christ and to follow Him is to change the personality – to enhance the God-reflective qualities of each facet, and to eliminate, or at least subdue the qualities that are selfish, unloving, uncaring, and cruel.

Several men were so changed that even the names were changed: Simon became Peter and Saul became Paul. Certainly if one met Simon when he was denying Christ, and fearful for his life, it would be difficult to recognize him as Peter the Rock, the brave, enthusiastic supporter of Christ after Christ’s death. And to know Saul the determined persecutor of those who followed Christ’s teachings, would make it difficult to reconcile Paul, – who went through all kinds of trials to preach Christ as Savior and to teach His Way, with the former Saul.

So a vital relationship with Christ can transform anyone: this is Christ “glorifying” us. We are made more recognizable as God’s children – and more important to others, we are ministers of Christ – healers, helpers, encouragers, strengtheners. We do not do these works for our own glory. Yet the power is a satisfaction to us as we perceive the good changes taking place. And we do experience joy as the love of Christ penetrates our hearts; it is in this way that He glorifies us. As we serve Him, He serves us, Christ ministers to the world – through us. And Christ ministers to us through the world (by the power of the Holy Spirit working in circumstances), as well as through others in whom His love and power flow – and overflow.

To realize this fact is to serve as the basis for a Simon becoming a Peter and a Saul becoming a Paul: to the glory of Jesus, to the glory of Peter and Paul and to the betterment of the world.