What’s In a Name?

Do you like your name? Do you know what it means?

Names have lost their significance over the years.  But in Biblical times, names carried much meaning.

Sometimes, God would provide a name for the child (ex: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” Luke 1:31 – Jesus meant Savior).

Many times, parents named the child based on their experience or emotion during that part of their lives (ex: “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.  So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, ‘The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me’ Gen 29:31,32).

Sometimes, unusual circumstances or characteristics observing during birth determined the name of the child (ex: “And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.  Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob” Gen 25:25,26).

But no matter what the given name of the child was, it did not have to define who he or she became.  For example, God called Abram and Sarai to a special relationship with Him and renamed them Abraham and Sarah.  Jacob, the “deceiver or supplanter,” became Israel, “the overcomer.”  Saul became Paul.

Whether we like our names or not, we don’t have to remain the way we are – we don’t have to live out the patterns of our parents or the circumstances around us.  We have a choice in who we become:

“To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it” (Rev 2:17).

That name will signify the victory you have through Jesus – the new identity as His child.  Perhaps it will be “Abia” – God is my Father; “Adalia” – God is my refuge; “Adel” – God is eternal; “Adlai” – God is just;  “Annalisa” – Graced with God’s bounty; “Azariah” – Helped by God;”Chaniel” – Grace of God; “Daniel” – God is my Judge; “Eliezer” – God is my help; “Elijah” – the Lord is My God; “Elimelech” – My God is king; “Elisha” – God is My salvation; “Eliron” – My God is song; “Emmanuel” – God is with us; “Eoin” – God is gracious; “Gedaliah” – God is great; “Elizabeth” – God is my oath; “Hezekiah” – God gives strength; “Jairus” – God enlightens; “Jane” – God is gracious; “Jonathan” – gift of God; “Lazarus” – God is my help; “Malachi” – messenger of God; “Raphaela” – God heals…

Why not claim a name now to live out today?  Live as a new creation.   Fulfill your calling.  “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

Heavenly Father, give me a new name today and help me to live accordingly.  I want to be a new creation, begotten of Your Spirit. Amen.

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