Don’t Let Them Change Your Name
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own [mold] but let God [re-mold] your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. Romans 12:3 J.B. Phillips New Testament
It was strange advice to give a college-bound son: “Don’t let them change your name!”
He had done it! Laila’s son had been accepted into a world-renown university. He’d be living on a campus of over 32,000 students. But Laila knew her Bible and recognized an application.
Scripture tells of three of the best and brightest young Hebrew men who’d been taken captive to Babylon. Their names were Hananiah, Misha’el, and Azariah, which mean respectively, “God is gracious,” “Who is like God?” and “God has helped.” The Babylonians wanted them to assimilate into the Babylonian culture and gave them the Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When offered the king’s food and wine, the three stuck to the vegetables and water that had made them healthy and strong.
More than that however, the Babylonian king wanted them to bow down and worship a gold statue or be thrown into a flaming furnace. They refused, saying, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). Into the furnace they went, and right out of it they walked, unsinged.
Every Jesus-follower will face a Babylon in life, which is why Scripture urges, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its own mold, but let God mold your minds from within” (Romans 12:3 J.B. Phillips New Testament). Or, as Laila counseled her son, “Don’t let them change your name!”