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What’s in a Name?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But names will never hurt me!”

I don’t know who said that but they were wrong!  Perhaps you have discovered that for yourself. I certainly have.  There are some `labels’ that were attached to me as a child which definitely hurt me.  Names like: troublemaker, irresponsible, unlovable, and dirty were some of them.

Names are really important.  Family names determine to whom we belong.  For example, in Holland, names were once used to describe a person’s occupation or status.

In both Old and New Testaments, there is record of people’s names being changed.  For example, in Genesis 17:5, God said to Abram, “no longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.”  Then in v.15, “God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.”  God was doing a new thing.  He was changing Abram’s identity from “exalted father” to “father of many.”  Jacob’s name was also changed.  The name Jacob means “he grasps the heel.”  After an encounter with God which forever changed him, his name was changed to Israel which means “he struggles with God.”  In the New Testament, we read how Simon’s name was changed to Peter, Saul’s name was changed to Paul.  Every time, God changed someone’s name, it signified a change in their identity.

Several years ago, I was listening to a tape in which the speaker shared that God had revealed to him that he had a new name.  I invited the Lord to show me my new name.  He took me on quite a journey!  Months later, on a Sunday evening, the pastor’s message was based on Luke 7:36-39.  This is the account of the woman who interrupted a dinner party to anoint the feet of Jesus with precious fragrance.  Everyone in the room was shocked that a prostitute would be so bold. That night, because of shameful things in my past as a young teenager, the Holy Spirit showed me just how much I identified with this woman and that I had worn a label, a price tag that caused me to believe that I was worthless and dirty.  I had been in ministry for many years at this point in my life and no one would have known that I bore such a shameful inner identity. But God knew.  And He wanted me to be free.  To experience freedom, I first of all had to recognize that I had embraced a lie- the lie that my past determined my present.  Soon after that event, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had a new name which had a very different price tag.  My new name was “Virgin Bride.”  The Lord Almighty was revealing to me that He is my Husband, (Hosea 2:14), The One Who protects me, counsels me, provides for me; the One that I can be intimate with, sharing my deepest heart with Him.  This was a wonderful, cleansing experience that changed my relationship with Father God.

I want to ask you a question.  What is the old name, the price tag, which you have embraced? Could it be “Loser”, “Insignificant”, “Outcast”, “Stupid”, “Oddball”?  I would encourage you to spend time with Father God asking Him to reveal to you who you truly believe yourself to be in the deepest, hidden part of yourself.  And I would encourage you that this is not who you really are.  God has given you a new name that nobody else can know.

Isaiah 56:5 “…to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.”

Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”

People don’t name us,
Actions don’t name us.
God Himself has a special name for each one of us.
I will change your name,
You will no longer be called,
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid.
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one,
Faithfulness, Friend of God,
One who seeks my face.

Sandi Grecu

About the Author

Sandi has a heart for seeing Christian women redeemed from life’s traumas. Her life is a testament of how brokenness and abandonment can teach lessons that deepen our relationship with Jesus. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Sandi came to the United States in 2000 and joined Grace Ministries International where she counsels, mentors, and teaches at conferences and women’s retreats. Today, Sandi and her husband Barry teach and disciple through Ministry Emmaus.