Nothing is believed to exist without a given name. As such, the origin of names cannot be ascertained. Most times, I wonder where the names of Diseases and Viruses originated from. Most of which are unknown to a lot of people not until they are been declared. I must be sincere, I never heard of Coronavirus, not until the Pandemic started. I was reading through a post where the writer stated that the word ‘Coronavirus’ was in the ‘Modern Biology Textbook’.
However, the Biblical origin of names can be traced back to the activities of God during creation. In Genesis 1:5, God separated Light from Darkness, and he consequently called the Light – Day and the Darkness He called Night. This was the first instance of name. This however was succeeded by other acts of creation.
However, after God had completed the Creation, He then brought them all to Adam to see what he would call them (Gen. 2:19).
Based on the foregoing, one would agree that nothing is said to have been in existence without a name. Names however goes a long way to tell a lot of things about an Individual and even circumstances surrounding the birth of the person.
Let’s take a look at the following facts on names.
*1. Names are to be given by God not men.*
As we have earlier pointed out earlier, the origination of names started with God in the course of creation and then to Adam, this implies that names has to be given based on divine instructions by God. All through the Bible, we have stories of people whose names were changed by God. Abraham for example had his name changed from Abram (Exalted Father) to (Father of all Nation)- Gen. 17:5. Likewise did Sarah have her name changed from Sarai to Sarah – Gen. 17:15.
Some names are given by God based on personal encounters. An example of this is seem with Jacob who had an encounter with an Angel in Gen. 32:28.
I will say this categorically, that if names should be changed, it has to be done with the consent of God.
It is on this premise that names are given in the Celestial Church of Christ based on divine directions (God) through the Holy Spirit. As we find in Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:22-23 respectively, the names of Jesus had been revealed even before His birth. Even at the temple, when He (Jesus) was dedicated, the Holy Spirit spoke of him through a prophet called Simeon– (Luke 2:25-34). This is to know the mind of God about the name the child would bear so as to avoid giving a name that might cause calamities in the child’s journey in life.
*2. Names are pointer to situations and circumstances surrounding the birth of an individual*
People generally believe that names tell about the situations surrounding the birth of a child. For Africans, they use names to tell stories about and even state the kind of family such a person comes from.
The name Abíóna shows that the child was born during the course of a journey. Likewise does a name depict royalty. For instance, affixing a name with the word ‘Ade’ by the Yoruba to label one as royalty.
Biblically, Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9 was named so because his mother bore him with agony. Theodore Roosevelt once said “If there is not the war, you don’t get great generals…” It is on this note that I will say that names go as far as telling whether a man sails or sinks in the vehicle of destiny. The kind of names an individual goes by, will tell how he will live. Invariably, it could either make or mar an individual. This is one of the significance of names in the life of a man. It was the name given to Jabez at birth that determined the odds of his life not until he saw the spiritual insight behind it and went back to the source (God).
However, in the context of Proverbs 22:1, ‘Good Name’ implies a good character and moral conduct. True is the maxim; “Charity begins at home”. Socially, a person with a good character is confirmed as a responsible being. At this point, I say; “No matter how Good the literal name of an individual may be, if not backed up by a good moral conduct, it will amount to nothing.
In lieu of this, Idowu Koyenikan once said “Even though our time in this life is temporary, if we live well enough, our legacy will last forever”. This implies that our attitude and character succeeds us. Even after death, people will continue to talk about the life we have lived.
Based on personal experiences, when I lost my Dad, a lot of people has been talking well about him and this got me asking “Can I fit into his shoes?”. This is because he has been able to lay a legacy and above all live well up till the point he submitted to his maker.
Israelmore Ayivor was of the position that “It’s easier to maintain a good character than to recover it when it’s gone bad!”. It is in lieu of this, that Solomon while talking to his son wrote “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” However, a greater measure that ascertains a ‘good moral rectitude’ is the way at which an individual is trained. In support of this position, Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 13:24 gives a measure for training a child. The place of discipline cannot be over or under estimated.
To some, When discipline is mentioned it implies using a whip on a child. Discipline can take a lot of ways. In its entirety, discipline means abstaining from an act at a price.
Take for instance, an individual trying to abstain from sexual immorality is simply denying the flesh of sexual pleasure. I remember reading through a write up some years back, when I stumbled upon the quote “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. I am adding this that “What does not kill you makes you stronger at a given price and time”. Wealth can be acquired through diverse means (Godly or Ungodly) but a good name can only be earned through hard work and diligence. It is worthy of note that, good name takes years to build and can be lost within the twinkle of an eye.
As a Christian, the Bible gives us a standard to living a healthy life in Christ by being followers. Not just by mere saying or dressing but through our deeds and dealings with everyone around us.
In Conclusion, good name is easily ruined than earned. Live a life in Christ and that is a guarantee of having a good name. Living a life in Christ implies being at peace with all men as Paul writes in Romans 12:18.
By Pro. Oluwadamilare_Ayomi_Michael Olusoga
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