Namaemake - Part 2

In the Japanese culture, names have meaning and lay out a child’s intended destiny, set by the parents.  To fail to live up to one’s name is namaemake.  It is shameful.

We are Christians.  That name carries meaning.  It is a name that we should strive to live up to and be ashamed when we fail.

What is the meaning?  For one, it means that we have a destination.  We are called Christians because we have aimed our future at being with Christ.  Jesus said, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).  He also said, “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also” (John 12:26).  In His great prayer to God, He pleads, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me” (John 17:24).  It is Jesus who has given us a destination… Him.  So naturally, we bear His name.

To live up to the name Christian, Jesus needs to be our final destination.  To become a Christian and not reach the final goal of heaven is the ultimate failure.  It is beyond shameful.  “It would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them” (II Pet. 2:21).  Can you think of anything worse than to call Jesus “Lord” on the day of Judgment only to have Him turn His back on us, saying, “Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Mt. 7:21-23)?  A person takes on the name Christian, but fails to make it to Christ at the end of all things is an ultimate case of namaemake.

To live up to the name Christian, Jesus needs to be our destination today.  Of course, we want to literally be with Jesus for all eternity in heaven.  But the name Christian isn’t just a future goal, it is a current one.  We should strive to always abide with Him.  Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you…if you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you” (John 15:4,7).  The goal is to live each moment in a close relationship with Jesus where He is always pleased with us and always observing us and always helping us.  To break that relationship is to fail to live up to the name Christian.  After all, how can a person truly be a Christian if they don’t have Christ?  

We bear the name Christian and that should motivate us to live a life focused on getting to Jesus.  Such a life is one that sets aside anything that keeps us from crossing the finish line (Heb. 12:1).  Hobbies, work, school, and relationships can all be important.  But we don’t bear the name Hobbyians or Workians or Schoolians or Relationshipions.  Those sort of things are not our destiny or our calling.  The priorities and decisions we make in this life should reflect the name we bear.

We bear the name Christian and that should motivate us to be in constant fellowship with Christ.  It is easy to please the world.  But we aren’t called Worldians.  That’s not our name.  We should live accordingly.

After all, we don’t want to be namaemake.