HOW I AM DEFINED
No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. Genesis 17:5
Anyone who names me has a position of authority over me. My name can be a source of joy or source of pain, depending on the relationship I have with the name-giver. I am always struck by how deeply some people hate their names. It goes beyond wincing at the sound of it. Oftentimes, a person was named after a relative they didn’t care for. For years they struggled with it, only to adopt some nickname to avoid using their real name.
Abram’s name, given at birth, means ‘my father is great’. It speaks of his prestigious ancestry. His name was all about the family he came from. When God called him for spiritual greatness, he gave him a new name. Abraham means ‘father of many nations.’ The focus shifted from his past to his future.
When someone is given a new name in scripture, they are receiving a new status, calling, or change in character. The timid are named strong. The insecure is named a solid rock. Whom God favors, God renames.
In ignorance, I can feel forgotten. God only renames the spiritually great, right? If I believe that, I will flounder in my sense of identity. I will not grasp who I am; not only by virtue of who God created me to be, but who I am in regeneration and redemption. I have a new name in Christ. With that change comes privileges and responsibilities that define my future. I am like Abraham after all.
Satan is a liar and accuser. His mission is to destroy every confidence I have in Christ. He is constantly trying to convince me that I am not who God says I am, that I’m a fake. But if I understand the new name I’ve been given as God’s child, I will live safely in a fortress of strength. No accusation of Satan will be successful against me. He will not be able to undermine my confidence.
So I take Revelation 3:12 in deeply today. “I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”
Like Abraham, my new name is all about my future. Inscribed on my body, soul, and spirit (a three-fold spiritual tattoo) is the name of God, his city, and his Son! Every time Satan looks at me, he sees the name Jesus. I’m branded for eternity and though he sees it and knows it, he’s counting on the fact that I don’t. Or, that I’ll forget it when I sin and fall flat on my face. I must remember that my new name has been forged through forgiveness, not failure. When God looks at me, now and forever, he sees Jesus. My calling is new and my character change is in process.
When you write with your pen, Lord, it’s with permanent ink. Amen