Have you ever noticed God has a habit of giving people new names? It all started with Abram, when God appeared to him and told him he would be the father of many nations. After giving him this promise, God gave Abram the corresponding new name, Abraham, which means “father of many.” God gave Abraham’s grandson Jacob a new name when he wrestled with God. When Jacob, meaning “deceiver,” insisted God bless him before relenting in the fight, God gave him the new name of Israel, meaning “God prevails.” Jacob lived the rest of his life a changed man, and his children became the twelve tribes of the nation Israel.
A New Testament example of this is when Jesus gave his follower Simon the name of Peter after he declares Jesus is the Son of the living God. Jesus tells Simon, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18).
Clearly we see this play out enough in the Bible to know that God takes names seriously. A name marks a person. It speaks something about their life and their destiny. And fortunately for these people in the Bible, and for us, God is in the business of giving new names. In the book of Revelation, when John is giving messages from heaven to various churches, he has one piece of encouragement that speaks to this subject. Amid other promises, God promises to give those who overcome a white stone with a new name on it. And the most amazing thing about this new name it that only the person who receives it knows it.
While this passage is directed to a certain audience, I think we can take something away from it too. God knows the core of our identity more than we could ever know ourselves. He sees the potential in us. He called out Abram when his wife was barren and said, “Abram, you my child, are going to be the father of more people than you could ever even fathom.” Abram even laughed when God said this because he knew his wife was far too old to have children. But he had no idea what God had in store for him.
God looks at you, and he says, “My child, I have things in store for you that you could never even guess. I see gifts in you that you didn’t even know you had. I have a future for you that you couldn’t even dream.” Maybe your parents prayed about what to name you, or maybe they didn’t. I challenge you to look up the meaning of your name if you don’t know it. Perhaps God has a promise hidden for you there. And maybe he wants to speak a new promise over you too. I’m not asking you to go change your birth certificate, but I am challenging you: Ask God if he has a new name for you. Something only he knows. Even if it isn’t an actual name that you hear, his Word says he knows things about you that only you and he can know! And he wants to encourage you today by whispering to you about your identity and your destiny.
by Lauren Bratten
“And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)
Lord, thank you that you see potential in me that I could never see. I ask that you would show me a promise you have for me, even in the form of a name. Please help me to see myself the way you see me.
Featured Resource: Big Dreams From Small Spaces
This devotion speaks to the dreams in the heart of every young woman—God can and will use you, right where you are. He can change the world starting with you.