“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly… Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 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. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God… As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”Genesis 17:1-2,4-8,15-16
“In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.'” Hosea 1:10b
Names in the Bible were given as identities. When changed, they reflected a new scape or broadened scope of life, and signified something left behind. God intended instruction and inspiration through His conference of names.
God has a knack for reorienting and renaming His children. His thoughts and ways are far above ours, and are generous, good, and redemptive. His Spirit intrudes our world as a permanent internal and external life-changer. Being named His own and bearing Christ’s name makes all the difference. (Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 8:15-17; 1 Peter 2:10; 1 John 3:1)
How might the Lord want to rename me? Self-focused to Christ-centered? Lazy to zealous? Impatient to patient? Ornery to gracious? Undisciplined to measured? Frenzied to peace-filled? Scattered to focused? Driven or impulsive to Spirit-led and self-controlled? Complainer to hope-filled? Dreading to expectant?
If I were to be renamed, what does the Lord want left behind? What deeply-entrenched attitudes prohibit spiritual or relational growth? What habits entangle forward or upward progress? What ‘I can’t help it’s or ‘it’s always been this way’ are holding me back from envisioning how things could be better, more constructive, more fruitful? What narrow parameters have I set by sloth, fear, or caution that the Lord would remove to expand my perspective for life and ministry?
“Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart,
come quickly from above;
write thy new name upon my heart,
thy new best name of Love.” ~Charles Wesley (1742)
Father, name me and make me into Your person, who bears Your identity with wholeheartedness and for your glory.