While Marie and I were just engaged to be married, long before we would become parents, we had already discussed and debated at length the names of our future children. When the time came for us to actually and imminently prepare to have a child, our discussions heated up immensely. Hours and hours of time and thought went into the decision. We bought books on the subject. We researched countless websites dedicated to Baby Names. We asked friends and family for their feedback (bad idea – just don’t do it!).
When it came time to narrow the list down, things got ridiculous… We rejected suggested names on the basis of names sounding too proper, long, short, ditzy, goofy, etc. We rejected other names because they conjured up images and remembrances of places or times or people we didn’t like. We rejected others because they didn’t have the proper cadence of syllables. Crazy, I know. But don’t judge me – I also know that your parents likely did the same thing in naming you – and that if you are a parent, you likely did this too!
The fact is, names matter to us. We attach meaning and identity and worth and even prophecy to names. In this way, not much has changed since ancient, Biblical times. Names described a person or the work that they did. Today, we want our own names to reflect who we are, or will be. We want our children to carry names that identify them. We want our family names to be honored and legacies to be built upon them. Names matter.
But, what exactly is your name?
An angel of the Lord asked this same question of Jacob in Genesis 32:27. Of course, God knew Jacob’s name and everything about him, so the question was rhetorical, as is mine. But the Lord was drawing Jacob’s focus to his earthly name, which meant “deceiver,” because He was about to give him a new name – Israel, which meant “man who sees God (man who wrestles with God).”
Jacob was being transitioned. Like his ancestor before him (Abram/Abraham), he was being given a glimpse into his destiny, as His Creator had designed. In the same way that Abram was moved from “exalted father” to Abraham, “father of multitudes” – beginning his journey into his eternal promise – Jacob began step number one out of his past and into God’s promised future.
We see this over and over in Scripture. When God changed an individual by revealing Himself and His purpose to them, He changed their name. As they realized who they were in Him, they stepped into their God-designed purpose with a new identity. That new identity carried with it a new name:
- Hoshea (“salvation”) was renamed Joshua (“the LORD is salvation”) by Moses before he would lead the Israelites to their promised land.
- Saul (“demanded”) intentionally took the name Paul (“little”) to portray his self-described place as he magnified the Greatness of Christ.
- Simon (“hearer”) became Peter (“stone”) the moment Jesus spoke to Him. Peter did not always behave as a Stone for Christ, ultimately denying Him 3 times, but before his story was done, he became a pillar and a foundation stone in the building of the first century church (Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 2:20).
Jesus not only sees what is in us, He sees what we can be through God’s power and transformation.
So, have you ever heard the still small voice of the Lord ask you, “What’s Your Name?”
My testimony is that shortly after becoming a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), I was given 2 new names. I walk with Brothers and Sisters who have received from the Lord their own new names, and have witnessed the transforming power of a life made new in Christ – and the connecting new name given.
These are all new names of real people that have had their lives made new in Jesus. Of course, their Birth Certificate and the Driver’s License still carry their given, birth names. They haven’t abandoned the meanings or importance of their earthly names. But, they have accepted their Heavenly identity in their new names – and walk concurrently in the earth and in the heavenlies – living out the giftings, blessings, authority and meaning of those names.
In the Bible, people tend to live up to the meanings of their names, both for positive and negative, and both for their old and new names. To LIVE in the FULLNESS of Jesus Christ means to live out of an acceptance and ownership of who you are to Him.
Have you discovered your name?
May I suggest that you pray about it? Ask the Lord to reveal to you your name – not as you see yourself, but as He created you and sees you. Have others join you in this prayer. In my experience, God is faithful in this request. He desires for His children to know their created identity, and He will honor a prayer that seeks it.
Don’t be surprised if what you hear and receive from Him seems very “unlike you.” This is a common response, and indicates the reality that so many live in a false understanding of themselves and their ability. Remember, this name is how GOD calls you and sees you as – not the world, the lies of Satan, or even yourself.
Receive your new name and begin to live out of it – into the destiny God has painted for you.
Then, take it one step further…In addition to this new name, you carry another Name – Jesus Christ.
Scripture tells us that we are the Body of Christ, that we have His life in us and that our life is in Him, and that we carry His name in the earth. (1 Corinthians 12:17; The Gospel of John; Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16; John 15:20-21)
To live a Zōē Perissos life is to live a life that is not even ours. It is to live by the life of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20) A mind-blowing, glorious Truth such as this is difficult if not impossible to grasp without first understanding the identity (and name) behind it. If you are in Christ, you live by His life and you carry His image and glory into the world – now. You bear His name.
Jesus came so that we (just like Abram, Jacob, Saul, Simon and others) can be transitioned: from our past into His future; from guilty to innocent; from His enemy to His friend; from sinners to Saints; from Adam to Christ; from death…to LIFE!
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in Heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a NEW NAME that no one understands except the one who receives it.” – (Revelation 2:17 NLT)
Be blessed. Be victorious. Be abundant in Him who has re-named you.