Because of childhood experiences with friends, I decided not to call anyone my best friend for many years. Calling someone your best friend just seemed unfair to other people, as if it were an exclusive club. Then, multiple years ago, a friend of mine, who I’ll call Eleanor, decided to name me her best friend. At the time, I wasn’t sure why she did: I had no idea what it meant to be a best friend or how to let someone be mine. None the less, Eleanor consistently treated and called me as such. Years went by, tons of memories built up, and God redefined my view of friendship. Now I can honestly call Eleanor my best friend. Nope, I’m not gonna say I’m perfect at the best friend thing, but it’s a journey.
To me, this story is a picture. God has reached out to us, and to those who trust Him with their life, He gives new names. There is nothing further from the truth when He assigns these labels to us, yet He views us and treats us as though we live up to them in the present.
I can give you so many examples of why this is a motivation. In middle school, I read in a book that people will live up, or down, to the expectations placed upon them. So, by expecting the best out of every guy I met, I received respect from even the guys who didn’t always show it to girls. Now, this is certainly not a hard and fast rule, especially with strangers, but in general, a person will live up to what is expected of them.
When God calls us holy, I believe this method is being implemented to put us on the path toward holiness. (Ephesians 4:24) Similar future statements are found many times in the Bible.
We are called delivered, even while we are still captive to sin. (Colossians 1:13)
We are called victorious, while the fight still wages on. (1 Corinthians 15:56-58)
We are called sons of God, while we are still living in fear. (Romans 8:15)
Not only are we called these things, but treated by our heavenly Father as though they are true this very moment. When Jesus died for our sins He bought these names along with adoption for us.
These names, these promises, are from a Father who is drawing us ever closer to Himself. In theology, they call it sanctification. When the rubber meets the road, it’s so much more than a fancy word, though. It’s an awesome journey.