Speak the Truth:
Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
Talk the Talk:
I just joined a Bible study on Daniel. We are only 2 chapters in, but I am already hooked. In the very first chapter, we learn that Babylon takes captive several young men from Judah in order to train them and build up their kingdom. One of the very first things they did with these young men was change their names. I posted the verse above that shows what their names where changed to. You see, their original names all pointed to God. Daniel meant God is my Judge, Hananiah meant Yah has been gracious; Mishal meant who is what God is; and Azariah meant Yah has helped. The Babylonians believed that by changing their names, they could change their identities. Their identities would be used to bring glory to the king, and not to God. However, Daniel and his friends were secure in their identity. They knew they belonged to God and throughout the rest of the book of Daniel we are shown over and over again how they stay strong in their faith. They never waiver. It didn’t matter what others called them or commanded them; they knew who they were. They knew they were untouchable with God by their side.
So, as I thought about this, the question came to mind. Do you know who YOU are? Do you know that you are the Child of the One True King? (Which is also an awesome song by Matthew West.) Do you know that you were made for a purpose? Don’t believe what the world says about you. None of it matters. I know personally. Satan knows my weaknesses, and will use anything he can to try and change my identity. Our identity needs to solely rely on what Christ says about us and who Christ has created us to be. We cannot allow the labels of society to penetrate our hearts and turn us from our one true purpose. Can you imagine how much different the book of Daniel would look if Daniel and his friends hadn’t stuck up for their faith and what they believe? I hope that one day others will say that about me. I hope that people see something different in me. That they are able to look past the labels of society and the devil. That they see my identity was found in Christ alone, and my life will point others back to Him. I struggled with this for many years; I had many labels that I wore around my neck, and they wore me down. As long as I held on to those labels, I couldn’t replace them. You can’t believe that you are ugly and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made at the same time. You can’t believe that you are worthless and that you are created for a purpose at the same time. The labels that I held onto were clearly against scripture.
Walk the Walk:
On a day where the rest of the world puts on costumes, let me encourage you to shed your labels and embrace who you really are in Christ Jesus. Write down the labels that you have embedded on your heart. Then turn to scripture and find out what God really says about you. How does it compare to your labels? Then burn your list, throw it away, stomp on it, rip it up, or whatever it is that brings your heart joy. Start a new list with scriptures that will remind you of the promises God has in store for you. Scripture that lift you up, and draw you closer to your Savior.