In the summer of 1976 my parents visited Manitoba, Canada and took a number of pictures of fascinating things and places. One picture that really tickled my fancy was that of Josiah Flintabbatey Flontain, (Flinty for short) a fictional character for whom the town of Flin Flon was named.
According to an “official” website, the town began with a prospector’s claim and a dime store novel. Flinty, was the hero of a science fiction novel that was found in the wilderness by gold prospectors in the early 1900s. When the prospectors found gold in 1914, they remembered the story of Flinty and called their claim Flin Flon.
The name stuck, and Flin Flon became one of Manitoba’s largest cities. See the town’s website for more information on this unique community to our North. See http://www.cityofflinflon.ca/tourist-bureau-park-campground-museum
The name of Flin Flon had its genesis in a fictional character who was much beloved by the people in the area and they were willing to be known by his name. Names are important. They say something about who we are. Names identify us and distinguish us from other people. (Remember when you first learned of someone else who had “your” first name? Takes some getting used to when you are a young child!)
While Flinty was a fictional character, another One whose name we follow was not fictional. Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and resurrected from the grave. All this is written in the Holy Bible and is fact, not fiction. He ascended into heaven where He lives to intercede on behalf of those who claim His name in faith and who have received the gift of salvation. Also fact, not fiction.
The Greek word for Christ is Christos meaning “anointed”, and “The Christ” was the anointed one of God, the Messiah, and the Son of God. It follows from this that a believer in Jesus Christ would be called Christianos or a “follower of Christ”. And that is exactly what the first believers were called as noted in the book of Acts:
“… And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”
Acts 11:26 ESV
They learned Jesus’ teachings, His way of life, His relationship with God, His desires for them to be witnesses to others, and much more. Jesus is not physically here right now to teach us, but we are not left to wonder what a His disciple should do. He expressed what discipleship was on many occasions, but in Matthew it is stated as follows:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. …”
Matthew 10:24-25 ESV
We as believers carry Christ’s name. As Christians, we are to be like Him. But, we cannot be like Him if we don’t learn of Him by studying His Word, by worshiping with other believers, by praying and by listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit who indwells us and who is charged with the job of growing us into the likeness of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
Romans 8:29 ESV
Your name is much more than just the moniker that you use to sign checks or the letters you print on the Welcome name tag at a conference. When someone says “Look, there is [your name]”, they are not speaking of your signature – they are speaking of you and all the aspects of you that they know. Your name encompasses your life activities, your behavior, your words, your demeanor, your personality, your character and your witness.
That is why, in Proverbs 22:1, we read:
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”
The application to believers in Christ is clear. Your name should be honorable, your conduct should be gracious and there should be none of the debauchery that is so prevalent in today’s fallen, godless world. A Christian must never rank the approval of man over the truth of God and His Word.
Your name, your personal choice to honor God and live for Him, may be the witness that will be used by the Holy Spirit to draw people to God and His life-giving hope.
Choose a good name above all else – be a Christian disciple, learner, pupil of our Lord and seek Him all your days. You will be blessed both now and in eternity.
Lord, help me to see You in all things. Where there is anxiety, let me put my head on Your breast and let me hear Your heart of love reminding me that You are in control even when my world is falling apart. Where there is fear, let me put my hands in Yours and so I can see the scars from the nails where You sacrificed Your life in payment of my sins. Holy Spirit, guide my steps and my words so that I can be an effective witness for my Lord and Savior.