Is this to be a life of duty or devotion?
It was said by Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It seems as though Shakespeare, in a rather poetic way, was pointing out the fact that ones identity is not determined by the outward packaging but rather the inward contents. Nevertheless, the world in which we live presents a seemingly inescapable temptation to establish ones identity through painted faces and neon signs.
This unfortunate reality can even be seen in the lives of many disillusioned Christians. The permeating leaven of the Pharisees is ever present in the theatrical world of modern Christianity. Somewhere in the midst of living the Christian life, duty has replaced devotion and an unhealthy remorse over ones sinfulness has replaced the healthy recognition of ones Savior. However, God's people should seek to establish their identity in Him who knows them intently and loves them unconditionally.
Kenneth Boa, in his book “Conformed to His Image” says it this way, “Only when we define ourselves by the truths of the Word rather than the thinking and experiences of the world can we discover our deepest identity”. It is a rather sobering thought to consider the fact that the God of creation would take the orphans of Eden and make them the children of God. It is amazing that God would take the lifeless twigs of humanity and make them the beautiful branches of the True Vine. It is unfathomable to consider how our heavenly father would take the slaves of the task master and make them the friends of the Savior. It is astonishing to consider how our great God would take the condemned and hopeless and make them the forgiven and hopeful. It is astounding to contemplate how our loving Lord took the vessels of sin and made them the temple of His dwelling. It is beyond belief to recognize that God would take the lifeless conduits of transgression and make them the living expression of His mercy and love. It is remarkable to ponder how our gracious God has taken those who were in a distant land of depravity and has brought them near by the bridge-making blood of Christ. Oh what a Savior!
When God’s perspective displaces the perspective of His sometimes shortsighted people His love will become the anchor of their identity. Moreover, in order to live a life pleasing to the King, His followers must not only love Him and others, but also themselves. This is only made possible and proven healthy when it travels in the vehicle of God’s grace and Word. No matter the name, the life of the Christian in the eyes of God smells as sweet as the savior they belong to.