by Dorette Saunders
The Bible is an amazing book. Some call it God’s love letter to his children. And, indeed, it is. Yet within this letter is the very breath of God. As we read, it’s as if we inhale the loving guidance God gives through his Word.
The Scriptures tell us that “We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness” (2 Peter 1:3, CEV).
As we continue to read, we come across these words: “Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live” (2 Timothy 3:16, CEV).
Everything? Yes, everything. Genealogies. Battles. Diseases. Healings. Betrayals. Punishment. Miracles. Marriages and love stories. Everything!
Nothing included in the text of the Scriptures is by chance. When Andrew, who was formerly a disciple of John the Baptist, introduces his brother Simon to Jesus, Jesus said,
“Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas.”
This name can be translated as “Peter” (John 1:42, CEV).
In Aramaic, Cephas means “rock.” When we look at the narratives of Peter’s life we often do not come away with a visual of a man who was “solid” or “steady” like a rock. If anything, Peter was brash, speaking before he weighed all the facts. Although he said he would never do it, when accused of being a disciple of Jesus, Peter denied knowing his Lord.
But, before the end of his life we view Peter differently. Jesus changed this disciple’s name when he first met him, and it changed his life.
Peter was the disciple to whom the Holy Spirit revealed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. It was Peter who trusted Jesus enough to walk on water. And, it was Peter who preached to hundreds of people shortly after Jesus’ resurrection.
While God does not always change our given names, he changes us and gives us characteristics that are reflective of himself. Like a refiner’s fire, he burns off those traits that are destructive and detrimental to our wellbeing. And, when we yield to him, we come forth as pure gold. Daily we become more like Jesus—this is the process of sanctification. It does not happen overnight.
Think about it, don’t we like the psalmist ask God to give us a clean heart when we sin?
Create pure thoughts in me
and make me faithful again.
Don't chase me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit
away from me.
Make me as happy as you did
when you saved me;
make me want to obey!
(Psalm 51:10-12, CEV)
God changes us not for ourselves but for his glory. Perhaps he will add behind your name, these words of honor. Prayer Warrior. Encourager. Teacher. Keeper of the Flame. Mentor. Friend. Helper. Giver. Listener…
However God chooses to use us to bless others, may we always be willing and receptive to his voice when he calls our name.
PRAYER: Lord, God, you have changed us for our good and your glory. Help us to bless others as you give us opportunity to share your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.