Have you ever thought about your name and why you were named it? Maybe you have a great history included with your name or maybe your name is attached to royalty. Those are wonderful ways to be named, but not everyone receives a name that gives them value.
I remember a time when I wanted to change my name, but my parents wouldn’t allow me. I didn’t know it then, but the name I wanted to change it to is often used as a nickname for my name. I decided to look up the name I desired to have which was Tina.
The name Tina is derived from the name Christian which was first used in Antioch by the Greeks and Romans to describe those who followed Christ. The use of the name Christian became popular in the 1700's, though in the Middle Ages and in many origins it was being used as both a male and female name. According to namemeaningsdictionary.com the name Tina also means woman, holy, pure, anointed, an instrument and follower of God. This simple name, Tina, that I desired to be when I was very young described who God had originally made me to be; this was my name from the beginning. God knew I would one day end up at His feet and give my entirety over to Him, He had already given me this name, but my parents missed it. This happens more often than we know, it seems somehow we are aware that what we are called by is not who we were meant to be.
Our names have a meaning, and every person has a heavenly name, one that the Father Himself hand-picked for us even if we never receive it here on earth. So, what makes me think such a thing you ask? The Scriptures are full of name definitions and name changes, God defined names and changed them. God even has many names, and they are all relative to His character.
When Abraham was instructed to give his only son Isaac as a burnt offering, he did as told by the Lord. Isaac asked his father where the offering was and Abraham answered him, “My son, God will provide.” Jehovah-Jireh is one of the many names of God it is translated from YHWH-Yireh – “The Lord Will Provide.” Abraham memorialized God’s intervention in the sacrifice of his son. (Gen 22:14)
When Hagar conceived a child through Abram, she ran from Sarai (his wife) because Sarai accused her of slighting her because she was pregnant. God intervened in Hagar’s life and told her she would have a son and name him Ishmael (meaning God will hear), because the LORD has heard your affliction (Gen 16:11).
Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?" - Gen 16:13 NKJV This is El Roi, the God who sees because there are no circumstances in our lives that escape His father's eye, He knows us by name, and He is aware of all our afflictions.
There are numerous other names of God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, but these will suffice to make my point. Names matter and they often identify a person’s character. We see in Scripture times when God told the parents what to name their child such as what we just read. An angel visited Joseph and told him to name his son Jesus, and when visiting Abraham to announce him and Sarah would have a child the Angel said to name the child Isaac. Jesus gave several of the disciples new names as well.
A Curse in the Name
Sometimes our name can have a very negative meaning and be challenging to live with. Our name is a large part of our identity, and it can be a healthy or unhealthy part of our life. Our name can bring us joy or resentment due to the circumstances surrounding it. The good news is God can change our identity, yes even our name.
Whether we change our name in the natural or have supernatural knowledge of our real identity, God can deliver us from who we once were, who we thought we were, or who other people say we are. A man named Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament in the Bible. Paul became a church planter, a martyr, an Apostle of Christianity but he wasn’t always Paul for he was born Saul, and Saul was a murderer of Christians and an enemy of “The Way,” the gospel of Christ Jesus.
There is not one person that can’t be regenerated if they so choose to hand their life over to the Lord Jesus. We don’t have to bear the scars of our old identity either; we can be supernaturally healed from our past mindsets and beliefs and walk in the freedom that can only come through a loving Father that longs to see His kids free to rejoice.
In Genesis, we read of a testimony about a woman who died during childbirth and named her son out of her own sorrows.
16 Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored [in childbirth], and she had hard labor. 17 Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, "Do not fear; you will have this son also." 18 And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin. - Gen 35:16-18 NKJV
It is difficult enough to know that your mother died giving you life but to carry that burden in your name would be a constant reminder and could cause a person some severe guilt. Fortunately for Ben-Oni his father determined to name him Benjamin for Ben-Oni means son of my sorrows, but Benjamin means son of the right hand. The right hand represents authority, and Benjamin later became the head of the tribe of Benjamin of the 12 tribes of Israel.
There is a famous prayer called the “Jabez Prayer,” maybe you have heard of it, there’s even a book written about this man’s short but powerful prayer. Jabez was in the tribe of Judah, and although there isn’t much written about him, most have heard of him and his famous words to God.
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore [him] in pain." 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep [me] from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested. - 1Ch 4:9-10 NKJV
Jabez recognized the curse his name came with and decided to break it by crying out to the Lord. It was apparent by God granting Jabez what he requested, that he did not want to cause pain to another. Just as Jabez cried out to God to turn his birth name from a curse to a blessing, so we can do the same.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the new identity I received the day I joined my life to You through Jesus Christ. Thank you for redeeming me from who I was labeled to be and even who I labeled myself as. Today I am Your daughter. I am no longer the old person I was, and I no longer have to identify with what others say I am or even who I thought I was. Today I can rejoice that when I cry out to you and renounce causing harm or pain to anyone, requesting that you would lift off of me anything that was put on me by another, I can prosper. So, Abba I echo the words of Your servant Jabez, Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep [me] from evil, that I may not cause pain! In Jesus name, Amen