September 7, 2009

More Than A Name

My full name is Joshua Belden Young.

The word ‘Joshua’ in Hebrew is יהושוע (yeshua). It means, ‘God is salvation’. There is a specific, yet simple reason I am named the name I am. My parents have always loved the story of Joshua in the Old Testament, and wanted their child to reflect and emulate his character. At three days old, I was named after someone my parents one day wanted me to be like.

There’s a hope attached to a name.

We tend to name things what we want them to be rather than what they are. The idea isn’t original, we got it from God. He did it with Peter, and He seems to enjoy doing it with us too. But since God doesn’t make a habit of speaking names out of the sky, He gave us titles. And there is one that stands out as the most frequent in the New Testament. One that has a lot of expectation, responsibility, and dare I say hope…


Corporate America is driven by titles. Supervisor. Director. Executive Director. Vice President. President. They come with them certain inherent expectations. A paycheck. A desk or workstation. Access to company resources. Maybe a stapler? Some things are assumed from the get-go.

But other things are required. As people progress up the corporate ladder, they have more responsibility, increased workloads, longer hours, and a lot to lose. They have to work to keep progressing and living up to the job description they were given on day one.

Friends…we are given a title on day one. The word ‘saint’ means holy, set apart. It’s a one-time deal. You’re saved and BAM, an instant promotion to sainthood. No lengthy process of research, investigation, or a Vatican counsel. Take that Catholicism. If you think that’s cool, you won’t believe what God does next. He then gives us the unique opportunity to do what few saints were ever able to do…live up to the title.

That’s called sanctification.

Just like there are some things that are assumed with a job title, the same goes for saint. It’s what theologians call being positionally holy. God sees us in light of His Son and as far as salvation goes, we are set apart for God. Our position in front of God’s judgment seat is holy no matter what we do or how far we may try to run…because its already been decided.

Yet the other side of the coin is what is called progressive sanctification. Because we have the title of saint, we need to live up to it. That’s what this life is about. From the moment of salvation to our last breath, we are seeking to walk in the manner worthy of our calling.

Lots of things hinge on this name God has given us and the responsibilities that come with it. What matters the most is that, by virtue of our title, we have been given all of the tools necessarily to live up to it. The question is: are we fulfilling the job requirements? Are we living up to the title of saint? Sorry to disappoint, but most of us aren’t doing a very good job and more than likely deserve to be fired from our 9-5 sainthood.

Most people try to resolve this problem through more Bible study, good deeds, church services, and helping old ladies across the street. It doesn’t help, and frankly all it does is hide the problem from others and ourselves. The goal is not for more content or concealment, but for real and raw CHANGE.

The change comes when realize what it means to be holy and set apart.
When we start to live up to our God-given title.
When we move past 9-5 Christianity.
When we embrace the transformation He has already done in us.

When we become Saints.


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