We all have names given to us when we were born into the earth by our parents, and these names distinguishes us from other people. Our names are unique to us and will mostly likely portrait our characters and attributes. I remember a friend of mine called Joy, she was always giggling and full of joy. I believe that her parents named her Joy because she was full of delights as a baby. I also know of another person called Endurance, and he too was a very patient person. You see, our names can shape our lives for good or bad, depending on the name and its meaning. We are our names and our names are who we are, whether good or bad. We do not have to accept any name that is contrary to God’s word and promises in our lives. We have the power to reject, change and acquire a new name.
People call us by our names many times in a day; and if our names are good names, as they call our names, we are blessed. For instance, imagine a person with the name Peace, when we call that person’s name every time, we unknowingly pronounce peace upon his/her life. But if on the other hand, a person named is pain, when we call this person’s name, we also unknowingly speak pain into his/her life. 1 Chronicles 4:9, “Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain”. It is crucial that we do not give our children names based on how we are feeling, what we like or dislike, and popular celebrities’ name that sounds nice. But we should rather name our children according to the promises of God. This is because our children will gradually but surely conform to the meaning of the names. Instead, as children of God, let us be armed with this knowledge, that we can bless our children through the names we call them.
When Abram, encountered God, He changed his name from Abram to Abraham, in Genesis 17:1-5, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai-God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. God also changed Sarai to Sarah. This He did because He understood how powerfully our names affects us.
Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, in order that He may build His Church using him. Matthew 16:16-18, “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it”.
Also, In Genesis 32, God change Jacob’s name to Israel because He knew how detrimental his name was to his character and his future. Genesis 32:24-28, “Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone. A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight. You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied. Then the man asked, “What is your name?” Jacob,” he answered. The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel”. Then, there was Saul, whom Jesus changed his name to Paul, in order that He may use him to build His Kingdom.
God changes a person’s name after He has intentionally chosen and changed that person, for the sole purpose of using him/her to carry out a specific purpose. God does not just change a person’s name, He changes it because before He can use a person, He vets and trains them so that they can be fruitful in His calling for their lives. Then, He gifts them a new name befitting their new position and purpose. God will not give a person a new name because they are handsome or beautiful outwardly. Instead, He bestows a new name upon a person because his/her soul is beautiful and it has been positively affected by God and his word.
When Mary was told by angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Lord and Saviour, He also told Mary, that His name shall be called Jesus. This is because the name Jesus, represented who He is and the manner of His life on the earth. Luke 1:30-33, “The angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid. You have found favour with God. See! You are to become a mother and have a Son. You are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the place where His early father David sat. He will be King over the family of Jacob forever and His nation will have no end.”.
The bible also reminded us in Luke 1, the when Zachariah was told by the angel that he would bare a son, the angel further instructed Zachariah that the child should be named John and not James or Sam, This was again because the name John signified the role which John the Baptist would play in preparation of Jesus. Luke 1:13-17, “The angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you will name him John. He will be your pride and joy, and many people will be glad that he was born. As far as the Lord is concerned, he will be a great man. He will never drink wine or any other liquor. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring many people in Israel back to the Lord their God. He will go ahead of the Lord with the spirit and power that Elijah had. He will change parents’ attitudes toward their children. He will change disobedient people so that they will accept the wisdom of those who have God’s approval. In this way he will prepare the people for their Lord.”
When Queen Elizabeth knights a person, she knights him/her based on their reputable contributions to the Country and its citizens. After she knights him/her, she proceeds to give them a new title benefiting the new identity of that person. Likewise, God picks out certain people base on their faith and walk with Him. He is no respecter of persons; therefore, He is not biased, but is just in choosing those who are deserving of the new name which He gives to them of His free will. When God gives a person a new name, it is a blessing and not a curse. This new name, sets this blessed and highly favoured person, apart from others because he/she is recognised by God.
When God changes a person’s name, He expects that person to live up to his/her new name in righteousness and holiness, and he/she will also enjoy the blessings that comes with the name. Isaiah 62:2, “The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow”. God, however, will not give a new name to a person who lies, lives in sin and refuses to repent. For a person to receive a new name from the Lord, he/she would have completely acknowledged God in every areas of his/her life. God will only give a new name to those who have proved their love and loyalty to Him through their total surrender, obedience, and commitment to Him. The name that we are given by our parents when we were born, is subject to change, but the name that God gives a person who He has meticulously chosen to fulfil His purpose, does not change and it lives on forever. Revelation 2:17, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it”.
Reasons Why God Changes our Names
1. To remove negative and curses from our lives. Ezekiel 36:25, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols”.
2. To bless and favour us. Genesis 1:2, “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing”.
3. To use us for His divine purpose. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
4. To establish our new identity. Isaiah 62: 1, “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah ; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married“.
5. To make us an example to others. 1 Peter 2:12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us”.
Who Does God Give a New Name?
1. One who He has called, chosen, trained, and ordained for His use.
2. One who is completely obedient to God.
3. One who fears and reverences the things of God.
4. One who loves God and is sold out to God.
5. One who dares to believe God against all odds.
6. One who is not ashamed to be associated with God.
7. One who has a heart of love.
8. One who has sacrificed all for God.
9. One who is humble and not arrogant.
10. One who abides by the Laws of God.
The Benefits of the New Name Given by God
1. Physical blessings
2. Spiritual blessings
3. Your name is recorded in the book of Life.
4. The name comes with God’s power and protection.
5. You become a friend of God.
6. The name is bigger than you.
7. You will have peace that passes all understanding.
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