I remember I hated being called out of my name. My brothers use to chant “you’re a robber” (from playing cops and robbers) or “you’re a clown” (I was afraid of clowns). They would laugh as I would scream “I’m not a robber/clown, I’m Bonnie Kay Byrd”!
My daughter does the same thing. She doesn’t like to be called anything but her name. Even if I call her princess, she quickly responds “I’m Moriah”!
Names carry significance. Every time that we call someone a name we are declaring something over them. In bible times God’s people carefully considered the names of their children understanding the significance it played in their identity.
Even if our given names hold a meaning that we don’t want to mold our character, God can change our names! A perfect example of this is God changing Jacob’s name that means “holder of the heel” to Israel which means “wrestled with God”.
24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel;[b] for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.
Jacob was fighting for his blessing since before birth. He was holding the heel of his brother to pull his way out the womb first. God changed his name and released the full blessing of Abraham over him!
9 Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. 11 Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. 12 The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” 13 Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. 14 So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel.
God wants to bless us too. Sometimes we hinder our blessing by what we call ourselves, our children and those around us. How can we expect to have clarity of mind if we are always calling ourselves crazy? How can we expect our children to gain understanding if we are calling them stupid? When I used to teach preschool, my children would come tell me when another child would call them a name. I would tell them that what was spoken is not true and they didn’t have to cry. I told them that if someone speaks something bad over them that they should say “I don’t receive that”! If we can stop the plans of the enemy to distort the identities of our children while they are young, think about how much easier it will be for them to walk in their purpose as adults.
We were all made in the image of God. God knew us all in our mother’s womb and set us apart for a purpose. I encourage you today to receive the attributes of God over yourself and reject every false label that the devil has placed on you. Let’s pray the same for our children and raise a generation who knows who they are and Who their identity comes from!
Father, we thank You that our identity lies in You. We thank You that You have set us apart and have made us in Your image. Forgive us for receiving the lies spoken over us. Forgive us for letting those lies shape our identity. We stand today rebuking every false word that was ever spoken over us and our families and speak the attributes of God over our lives. Show us how to build our confidence and that of our children by understanding who You have called us to be. Bring us to Your Word that will train us in Your character and transform us to have integrity in all areas of our life. We are heirs of Your blessing by the blood of Jesus and receive the blessing of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Lord change our names if You must, but bless us today! We will hold on until You bless us! We want to walk in our true identity so that we may bless and advance Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!