What's In A Name?
What’s in a name; what does it mean? Naming a child or person often denotes something of their identity, character, or nature. It’s common to name a child after a family member to show honor, and especially to name a son after the father. A name is a way to carry on the family lineage and history.
When it came to naming the Son of God, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream that Mary carried the Messiah and that His name would be “Jesus.” Jesus was the long-awaited Savior and Christ, in fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 1:19-25). “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
A name is so important that God planned your life and your name before you were even born. Your name is also inscribed on His heart and the palms of His hands. God writes your name in the “Book of Life” for eternity when you accept Him. And to call yourself a “Christian” means to take on the very name, behavior, and nature of Christ—in essence to live out His Name in all that you are and do.
In some cases, if a name doesn’t fully reflect His design, plans, and purposes, He will change that name. Abram was told he would now be called “Abraham” as he would have a son and become the father of nations. His wife too was honored as “Sarah” because she would be a mother and the lineage through whom Jesus would one day be born.
What’s in a name? Everything.
Maybe you have a beautiful name. Perhaps you were named in honor of a godly grandparent. Maybe though you didn’t like your name as it brought far too much pain or shame, so you changed your name. Perhaps you were given up for adoption and your name was changed. Regardless, God calls you by as new name: His own, His beloved, His child, His chosen one.
Names and words are important.
Possibly you were labeled with lies and old names that brought shame and defeat. Perhaps you were called ugly names growing up: “fat, stupid, clumsy, ugly, idiot, no good…” or worse. Names have impact: they speak to the identity of a person.
When I was a young child, I had the terrible habit of sucking my thumb. In first grade, I was called to stand before the whole class (along with another boy). The teacher then pointed to us and said, “See these two? They still suck their thumbs. They’re babies. We will call them ‘babies’ until they quit.” My humiliation was complete: I did quit sucking my thumb in front of others, but still hid my habit at night. And from that point forward, everyone called me “Baby Huey,” as my last name was “Hewitt” after the big thumb-sucking, giant, baby duckling that was a popular cartoon character in the 1950’s. God had to heal me of that shame-inducing name.
Names have labels. Names can bring honor or shame.
Think about some women in scripture and their names. The "harlot" that hides and protects the Jewish spies scouting out the promised land. She is literally saved and not only converts and marries a Jewish man, but becomes a whole new person with a new name and identity. Rahab is also in the lineage of Christ. Or the "adulteress" who was “caught in the very act” about to be stoned to death before the religious leaders... Jesus writes in the dirt and one-by-one the men leave. Jesus says to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” But I wonder: “Was He also writing her true name in the ground? No longer adulteress, but forgiven, beloved, pure, chosen, holy…”
What’s in a name? Everything.
God wants you to know who you are in Him because of WHOSE you are. Rather than letting the shame of your past, any brokenness, failures, lies, or pain define you, let God tell you who you are: you are His beloved one. He will always speak life and your name will denote great importance. He might even change it to call you, “beautiful, talented, chosen, esteemed, adopted in His family, belonging, whole, healed...and much more.”
Let Him heal all the ugly lies, any abusive words, or false names you’ve been called in your life. Instead, hear His Voice calling you a new name today.
Can you see yourself as I see you? Do not listen to the lies of the enemy, the false names, and words spoken over you in the past. You are My priceless treasure and My great reward. Your name is inscribed upon My very heart. The old is passed away and you are made new by My grace, love, and forgiveness. You are so cherished that My Son gave His life for you. Walk in that love and know your true named as “Beloved.”
“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)