What Do I Call You?


In my first month of college, I met a student whose name was Elizabeth (name changed to protect the…well, neither guilty or innocent…just the named). I had heard others call her Liz, so when I actually met her, I asked her which name she preferred.

“My friends call me Liz,” she explained…and then continued, “You can call me Elizabeth, at least for now.”

Wow, I wasn’t quite expecting that. I never did have the nerve to ask her if the “for now” had ended. Frankly, I never got to know her well enough to think I was ready to ask. Elizabeth is a fine name, but in that relationship, it was a bit of a block.

Perhaps this is one reason that in the most vital relationship of a Christian’s life—between her and her Heavenly Father—the name we are allowed to use is so important.

What do you think God would say if you were to ask Him, “What can I call You?”

Would it be an austere, “Call Me Creator of the universe”? Or perhaps more commanding, “Call Me Master”? Or positional, “Call Me King of kings and Lord of Lords”?

Indeed, all of those are His names. But He invites us to use another name—a name so intimate that it is almost shocking God extends it to us.

Abba, Father.

And He more than allows us to use it; He gives us His Holy Spirit to encourage us to use it. When we trust Him as our Saviour, He Himself puts that very name into our souls so we will use it.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.—Romans 8:15

Among the first syllables an American child speaks are da-da-da-da-da-da—Da-da…and later, Daddy.

Among the first syllables a Hebrew child speaks are ab-ba-ab-ba-ab-ba-Ab-ba….

And it is this elementary and intimate title God invites us to call Him: Abba—Da-da—Father.

I was surprised when Liz told me to call her Elizabeth. But I’m astounded that the God of the universe would invite me into an intimate, personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ—and invite me to call Him my Daddy.

He doesn’t make me get to know Him better first.

He doesn’t ask me to use a long title.

He just says, “Call me Dad.”

And I do.