take off the name tag

It was a wonderful week at TeenPact National Convention. From hearing great speakers to having special conversations to watching exciting frisbee games, I truly enjoyed every minute. But like most National Conventions, perhaps my favorite part was being able to sing in worship with hundreds of passionate brothers and sisters. There are few things as powerful and beautiful as seeing all kinds of different people from different homes and backgrounds coming together and shouting in unison to the one whom all our souls love. We all owe everything to Jesus, and all we want is to know Him more.

I was privileged to get to be a part of the music team twice during this past week doing a bit of keyboard synth and vocals. As I waited in the green room with the other musicians before our cue to head onstage, we all had to remember one important thing: take off our laminated name tags and leave them behind when we lead worship. It's something I've done every year as a part of the NC music team, but this year I was hit with a simple yet profound parallel behind the action.

We talked a lot about identity at National Convention this year. As Christians, we have to remember who we really are: permanently adopted children of the Father, rightful heirs to His Kingdom, saints purified by His blood, set free from all bondage, not condemned, forgiven, justified, empowered, and fully equipped for everything He will call us to do. Everything about our identity is wrapped up in God; He is the center, the cornerstone, the foundation of who we now are. As the scriptures say, our life is now hidden in Christ. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us.

And that's why I was struck with the profundity of this one little name-tag-removing action. As I go on the stage to stand before the presence of a great and holy God, I willingly remove my own identity in order that I may come humbly. I am known by God, He knows my name, and He knows me through and through. But in removing my little name tag, I choose to put my identity not in anything I've done, but fully on Christ. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.

But maybe you have one more question: why do we have to remove our name tags? If you've been part of a stage team, you probably know that the little pieces of plastic hanging around our necks quickly turn into blinding reflectors when stage lights hit them. For anyone in the audience, the name tags are a bright and annoying distraction because they bounce the light back at the audience. How interesting that as we lead others to focus on God, our names can be one of the worst distractions. This speaks volumes to how our pride, self-confidence, self-dependence can appear to others, especially to those who we are trying to lead closer to Jesus. Let's let our name fade in the background and just let God use us as He pleases.

Maybe we need to take off our name tags, stop worrying about others knowing who we are. If others can see Christ my clearly through my anonymity, then I want to be anonymous. I can stand firm and confident in the knowledge of Jesus' personal love for me, Shelby, His child. But I live in that love by remembering who I really am, a human full of the Spirit of the living God. The name of Jesus is now written all over me. And that's the only name I want.


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