Saturday, August 2, 2014

What's In a Name?

When I was around the age of eight or so, my mom told me the story of the reason why my name is what it is. At the time she was pregnant with me, soap operas where the thing to watch on television. People would go to work and gossip about it, and there have been many heated debates surrounding some popular soaps such as "Dallas", "As the World Turns" and "Days of Our Lives". 

I was actually named after the character "Ashley" from "The Young and the Restless". I've seen the show a few times, but I've never been a fan. My mom was a big fan when she watched the show, and one of her favorite characters were Ashley. I don't know a lot about Ashley (from the show), but my mom did tell me that she always was the responsible, upright one of the group. 

I may not know anything about Ashley (again, from the show), but I do know a little about me. Back when I was a senior in high school, my English Honors teacher gave my class an assignment of writing about the meaning of our names -  its origin, meaning, etc. Here's a little excerpt of what I wrote back then:
"The meaning of the name Ashlee is “from the Ash Tree”, or “Dweller near the Ash Tree forest.” It is an English name intended for boys to be called, but over the years it has become a predominantly girl name. Given the definition of my name, I think my first name means exploring and embarking on difficult roads in life that may seem strange at first, but because I’m a “dweller” and from God, I’m drawn towards things that which are hard because God will pull me through it. " 
~Me, in August 2010
This quote that I wrote years ago is so true. Looking back nine years ago to the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ and to this very moment, I have to admit that I have gone through some crazy stuff. Some of it may be that I knew that it would lead me somewhere God didn't want me to be. Other times I heard God's voice so clearly that I  couldn't resist it, even if I tried (and trust me, I've tried!) Through it all, God has been ever faithful to me. 

Through Christ's work on the cross, I've been given a new name, and if you believe in Him also, you have a new name as well. We may not know this spiritual "name", but the Spirit of God living in us leads us in the ways of Christ to fulfill His mission here on earth.

Ephesians 1 clearly explains who Jesus is, and because of what He has done, we have now been given a new identity and a new role. If you have any free time, I recommend that you read it. Verse  five  of the chapter states that He, God the Father, "predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself." I have been hand-selected, before the time the universe was made, to be adopted through Jesus for Himself by His own favor and will. There was nothing good on my behalf that I could have done to make Jesus love me, and there's nothing I can do to take His love away - it has been through His mercy that I am following Him and have received His gift of salvation (Titus 3:5). Through Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection, I have been redeemed by Him and forgiven of my sins through His amazing grace that He freely gives -through all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1: 7-8). 

Jesus did all of this to reconcile, or bring us back to himself. Instead of leaving us as orphans, Jesus Christ willingly gave up his life so that through the work of the Holy Spirit we may be drawn into a loving and thriving relationship with him. Along with this, I have obtained an inheritance through Him, so that my life might be to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:12-13). I've been sealed by the Holy Spirit, and my inheritance of Heaven and eternity with Christ has been guaranteed. To top everything off with a bow, so to speak, once we have heard "the message of the truth, the gospel of our salvation, and once we have believed in Him", we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Verse fourteen states that the Holy Spirit is our down payment for our future home and reward in Heaven. 

Being a Christian is so much more than going to church, reading your Bible, or knowing the lyrics to a few Gospel or Christian rap songs. As a Christian, we are mirrors, reflecting the transcending glory and majesty of the One true Lord and Savior that has set us free from our past of sin and shame and has propelled us to our future hope in Him. Through this, we are compelled to go and share His great message to the ends of the earth.

That's what my name mean. What's the meaning of your name?