In the book Song of Songs, the woman says to her lover, “Your name is like purified oil.” In the Hebrew language, the word for name is best translated to be etched. In this day, a name was much more than what people would call you. A name was your character, your virtue; your hidden life with God. Proverbs says, “A good name is better than silver and gold.” A name spoke of a person’s core, the kind of person they are when no one is looking. She is saying to Solomon, “Your character is holy.” This Song of Songs woman is both physically and sexually attracted to this man, yet she affirms something much deeper. She affirms his character, his secret life, his inner strength, and the name of God etched deep within him. This man has a name beneath his skin.
Single women, you must date a man long enough to know his name.
Not just the name he tells you, but the name he shows you. Too many men in today’s culture are fakers. Ladies, many dudes out there will do anything and everything to get your pants down. They will tell you what you want to hear, attend your church and even join your small group. Don’t be easily fooled. The writer Paul warns us about men who will sneak their way into the church to take advantage of young women. Over the years, I have noticed two kinds of men in the church today: Men who pray and men who prey. Watch out for men who prey; chances are you’ve already dated one of them. I’m sure you’re getting the point, but just in case, I’ll say it once more. Before you date any man, make sure you know his name. It’ll save you a lot of pain, and you’ll thank us years later.
So the question becomes: Does he have a name?
Ask yourself, “Does the man I’m pursuing have a name?” Is his name faithful? Integrity? Does he have a secret life of prayer? Does he know God’s voice? Does he follow the leading of the Holy Spirit? Is the character of God etched deep within him? If not, chances are he’s the wrong guy. If you’re already dating him, you might want to consider ending that relationship. Either for a season, or for good. This may be the most painful thing you have ever done, but it will save you much pain in the dating season.
Let’s get brutally honest for a moment. If your boyfriend or fiancé doesn’t love God before marriage, he won’t love God in marriage. If he doesn’t fear God before marriage, he won’t fear God in marriage. Marriage rarely changes us, but always exposes us. Ladies, if he’s pressuring you to have sex before marriage, he’s already showing you what kind of man he truly is and what kind of husband he will be. Marriage will not fix his fascination with sex-outside-of-marriage. He’s already shouting a message loud and clear that he has no problem having sex with women outside of marriage. After you’re married, chances are it won’t be with you.
Date a man long enough to know his true name, no matter how long it takes. Slow down and get to know the real him, far beyond the first date. This may take time, so don’t go too deep too fast. Ask the Holy Spirit to strip away the layers, and cut through the façades to show you the true heart of this man. Listen to your friends. Love is blind, really blind. The people God has placed in your life have the wisdom and insight you need to pursue the right guy, if you will be courageous enough to actually listen to them. As you seek after God together, allow God to shape in him the character he needs to become the man of God you need. Don’t settle for a man without a name. He will always disappoint.
Men, now it’s your turn.
Do you have a name? Not simply a name before man, but a name before God? Do you have a name worth trusting? Is your name humility? Love? Warrior? Have you invited God to etch His character deep within you? Muscles, bodies, money, success, and yep, sweet Nikes, are only good for skin-deep beauty. You must allow God to etch deep within you a man-of-God name beneath your skin. As you learn to cultivate a secret life of prayer, worship, and study God will shape in you His life, and His character. As you get to know Him deeper, he will etch His name into you.
Men, you can only fake it for so long. At some point, she will discover the real you; your real name. Perhaps not today, but somewhere along the way the real you will surface. It always does. So be honest with yourself. Stop running, stop hiding, and stop pretending. God is waiting for you in the secret place. He wants to lead you into manhood, call you into greatness, to etch deep within you His very name. Just remember, people will eventually forget your name, but God never forgets a name.