What’s in a Name?


Roll call was always very revealing.  Names were quickly put to faces, and no response to a name called, always signalled that someone was missing.  In order to learn however, your presence and full attention is  required.  I found this out in grade three, when I was pulled out of my lessons to travel to California with my family.  Our trip included a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, San Diego Zoo, and Disney Land. (Well worth the break from class!)  In this time period though, my times tables were interrupted, and when I returned to my studies, catching up again would prove difficult for me. (Still, very worth it! Calculators work just great!)  Some lessons deserve much more attention, and better attendance, however.  Life and faith are two of those great lessons.

Back in school, it always bothered me when someone assumed my full name was Christina.  My birth certificate however does in fact read Tina, not Christina as most mistakenly assume.  This always frustrated me, and I would quickly correct them when they asked; that is to say, it bothered me until later in life.  Many years after I became a Christian, I’d grown curious about the meaning behind my own name, and I sought to find the answer.

The first time I did my research, what I came up with was this: Tina on it’s own holds no real significants.  (At least at the time I originally searched for it, I couldn’t find that meaning.) Because of this,  I had to associate my name with it’s English origin. (My own ancestry.)  I had to concede that my name was a derivative of the name I had always denied, and even resented. However, I also was soon overjoyed to find that Christina in fact means Christian. (In other words, follower of Christ.) The very thing, and the very One, I also denied through my school years.  I guess you could say that when I was born again (when I accepted Jesus, and started life anew) I also accepted my true name, and who I belong to.   I never thought of it this way until now, but when I started using the name “God’s Kid” on social networking sites, really I was just using another translation of the name Tina.

Wikipedia states, that Tina on its own is an old English name meaning river.  Maybe this is why God spoke to me in my deepest despair, “Feel my living water flow.”  At the time I didn’t entirely understand what He was saying, and yet, the fact that He was saying anything, comforted me.

That living water is the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives to those who believe, and are repentant.  Being that a river is a flowing body of water, and that it is also among the meanings of my name, I find that very significant.  That living water, I’ve indeed felt flowing from me through the years, as God has put people and words on my heart.

Why God gives us understanding only in part at times I believe is for several reasons. Often He gives us something to signal  that something is coming.  (Similar to  how Jesus’ arrival was  prophesied ahead of time.) As we glimpse back,  we can also see more clearly that He was doing something all along.  We should also be able to see more of that picture as He needs us to see it more fully.

Perhaps it even prompts us to seek Him: for the more we need to seek Him, the more we learn to seek Him until it becomes second nature to us. I’m sure it also connects us to each other. The person who hears God isn’t always the one the message is for–though it can be for both the person who receives it, as much as it is for the one it is given to.  Some of us also dream dreams. (Prophetic dreams) These dreams are not always for us, but for the benefit of others: yet they benefit all of us. (I am in total awe of this)!

There are several meanings to my name in Hindi but  “Clay” took me by surprise: a very pleasant surprise to be more precise.  (Suddenly God is expanding my borders, and cultures  that  I am not too familiar with are becoming a part of the picture.)  Being that God is the “Potter” and I am the “Clay” I find this particular meaning very encouraging and it feels like further assurance that He will continue working on me. (Scripture also backs thus up: Philippians 1:6 ) From a young age I loved to mold things from clay myself,  and now as an adult my husband and I work with clay.  This wasn’t something either of us pursued,  but something that was offered to us by Andrew’s aunt at a crossroads.  We could either go on Welfare (and possibly go from job to job due to our poor health problems) or try our hand at our own ceramics business. We both felt going into business for ourselves was the best option. (Holy Spirit definitely had a hand in that decision).  There are several other meanings behind my name, but I’d encourage you to do the research on your own name as it can reveal some interesting, and even important information about who God created you to be.

Often throughout scripture, God gave people new names. This occured throughout the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament.  God never changes, so even Jesus called His followers by the name He chose for them.  While my name is still very much Tina, to me now, it takes on a whole new meaning (meanings even).  In the future, a new name will be presented to those who have overcome.  (Meaning: To prevail, or bring under control.)

“To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it.”

–Revelation 2:17.

For what the significance of the white stone may signify, I found this web page quite interesting:


As for what the hidden manna refers to— there are many ideas floating around out there.  Obviously not all of them can be true but from what Andrew further explained to me about manna, it sounds like manna represents God’s provisions. What may be spoken of here then, could be the things God will provide. What I know for certain is that is that some things are a bit of a mystery, but they can be enjoyable to meditate on.

Jesus Christ’s name is no exception, therefore there is meaning in His own name as well.  Jesus means: Savior, and Christ (which comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning: anointed, or chosen one) therefore Jesus Christ means: the chosen/anointed Savior.  Throughout scripture Jesus is called by many names.  In fact, Messiah was the name used by those who were expecting Him, which means: promised deliverer.  Jesus was also referred to as: the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; Lord; Master; Teacher; Son of God; Son of Man; Son of David; as well as Lamb of God, signifying that Jesus was the perfect and ultimate sacrifice.  The names given to Jesus are many, and the list goes on.  How fitting for a King who Himself, lovingly calls His followers by the name He gives them (as we so often do ourselves, with those whom we feel that kinship as well).

Though Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” had Juliet stating that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet,  the name we choose to live our life by can infact have a significant impact on who we become. By any other name than the name of Jesus,  surely we will not smell as sweet.  On the other hand, whatever we call Jesus, whether it is Lord, Teacher, King, or Messiah,  He is no less a fragrant offering.

“Live lovingly, just as the Messiah also loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and sacrifice, a fragrant aroma to God.”  (Ephesians 5:2)

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

–Romeo and Juliet – Act 2 Scene 2

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