Bear The Name
“Dana Perrino (Fox News) in an interview with a US Navy SEAL discussing all the countries he had been sent to… “Did you have to learn several languages?” “No ma ’m, we don’t go there to talk.”
One of the most amazing displays of dedication, strength, and discipline I’ve ever witnessed was while attending a men’s retreat around 2004 in south eastern Pennsylvania. As a part of the weekend, a former Navy SEAL had been asked speak to the men after breakfast. It was something that has stuck with me that I’ve shared countless times around campfires and while leading men’s retreats.
SEALs command respect. They are the best of the best. They understand their mission and are highly trained and motivated and can get the job done, period. The SEAL’s first words to the men that morning were; “This is how the Air Force does pushups.” Dropping to the floor he began ripping off a series of slow pushups, down on four, up on four. He did enough that the average man’s arms would have been shaking. His next words were; “This is how the Army does pushups.” He then began doing them with a clap in between each pushup.
“Next, this is how the Marines do pushups,” as he folded one arm behind his back and did ten one armed pushups with each arm. Smiling he continued; “This is how the Coast Guard does pushups,” and he did them with his knees on the ground. Finally, when no one else thought he could do anymore pushups, he spoke with determination; “This is how Navy SEALs do pushups.”
Instead of doing another variation of your typical pushups, he did a handstand in the middle of the floor without leaning against a thing and began lowing his body down towards the floor until his nose touched the tiles. You could have heard a pin drop.
We later learned that he’d run eight miles before joining us for breakfast which just added to his “aura”. While this superhero was conquering the world, the rest of us resembled a band of comatose morning zombies standing mindlessly in front of the coffee pot still wiping the morning crud out of our eyes, attempting to stop dragging our knuckles on the ground and trying to put sentences together that sounded like we had at least passed the second grade.
As a part of the retreat later that afternoon, we were all instructed to get away with God to ask him who each of us really is to the Father; to have him give us a new name just as Abram became Abraham, Saul became Paul, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob to Israel, and so on. One man came back saying he was God’s “William Wallace,” another was God’s “Maximus” (characters from the movies, Braveheart and Gladiator), but others came back saying they hadn’t heard anything from God about their new name.
I understand the point of getting away with God and asking the Father who we really are to him, and although a name or a title like, Navy SEAL may command respect (and understandably so here on earth), who we REALLY are, was never created from a cracked mold and can NEVER be defined by an earthly title. We are shaped by our cracks, our flaws, our sin, but the hands and the mold that holds us and formed us are sinless, tempered and forged in the Heavens, created the universe, conquered death and sin, crushed the head of the enemy, and each mold was created uniquely for us with our name boldly and lovingly inscribed on it. It doesn’t matter what other guys call you are or what medals or trophies you’ve earned; they don’t impress God or cause him to love and respect you more or love you less. His love is unconditional for those he calls his children and when he calls our name, he’s calling his own to himself.
When we give any other name but “Jesus” power, we’ve given those lesser names the power to define us and shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions. That may work for you on a good day when everyone wants to be you, but on days when we screw up, fall down, betray, abandon and murder with our words and actions, that name can take on a whole new meaning. And it happens to all of us. If you find a dude out there that tells you that he’s never made a mess of something, then that guy is probably living in a mess bigger than anything you’ve seen. We all screw up, but lucky for us as believers, we bear the name of Jesus Christ, and that name can never lose its power, respect, and authority.
. . . “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:7 NIV)
Where in my life is this verse connecting right now, and what is the Holy Spirit showing me through it?