What’s in a name? If your name is one of these creative, trending names, such as Burger, Denim, Facebook, Like, Hashtag, Jedi, or Yolo, a name will mean a lifetime of unconventionality.
When Pam and I were naming our first child, Pam really liked the name Makenzie. But there was already a celebrity named Mackenzie Phillips, of One Day at a Time fame. I had to decide whether or not I wanted my daughter to take on the name of someone else that people already had their own ideas about. But when you pick a name, that little person just takes on that name and it fits.
Then, you get other names like Giggles, Half-pint, Little Man, Squirt, and Pipsqueak, In elementary school, things get a little more harsh like Egghead, Four Eyes, Lefty, Ginger, Einstein, Pizza Face, Stinky, Chubs, or Brace Face.
You start to wear other labels like your school mascot; denominational labels: Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostal, or even Skeptic or Atheist. There are political labels like Republican or Democrat. Not to mention gender and racial labels.
Then, there are the really painful labels such as: Forgotten, Left Out, Loser, Unwanted, Unloved, Waste, Lunatic, Weirdo, Lazy, Nerd, Stupid, Worthless, Ugly, Coward, or Fat. These names begin to shape your identity and the way you see yourself.
In this DMs, Direct Message from God, we’re looking at the letter to the church in Pergamum, a dangerous place to wear the name of a Christian.
12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city. 14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. 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.
Many times in the Bible, people are given a new name that described how God sees them.
Notable New Names
- Abram – Abraham (Genesis 17:5)
- Jacob – Israel (Genesis 32:28)
- Simon – Peter (Matthew 16:18)
- Saul – Paul (Acts 13:9)
- Joseph – Barnabas (Acts 4:36)
“I am not what I have done. I am what I have overcome.”
When we wear the labels of our past, we’re more likely to act like who we were instead of who we are today.
Jesus knows your past, and He gave His life so you could leave your past in the past.
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37
It’s not about where you came from, but where you are going. You have overwhelming victory through Jesus!
“I am not what I have. I only have what I can give away.”
We’re not called to wear the label of Consumer, but to be a Contributor. Whatever you have, if you can’t give it away, you don’t own it, it owns you.
Then He said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15
Generosity loosens the grip of greed.
“I am not what has been done to me. I am what Jesus has done for me.”
It’s easy to fall into a victim mentality because of what has happened to us, either intentional hurts from others, or just bad circumstances we’ve gone through.
Paul went through unspeakable problems and here is how he responded:
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 2 Corinthians 4:17
He says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff (compared to what God has ahead for us).”
“I am not who people say I am. I am who God says I am.”
In our culture today, it’s very tempting for us to define ourselves and others by our labels. And we need to learn to see ourselves and others like God sees us.
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
What names have you been called? What names have you called yourself? Jesus has a new name for you that changes the trajectory of your future.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
Don’t settle for any name given to you other than the name that Jesus calls you by.
When Muhammad Ali fought Ernie Terrell, the WBA Heavyweight, Terrell infuriated his opponent by refusing to call him Muhammad Ali. Instead, he called him by his former name Cassius Clay. So during the fight, every time Ali hit Terrell, he said, “What’s My Name?” After 15 rounds of pounding punishment, Ali was announced the victor.
When your opponent, Satan, comes at you and says, “Your name is sinner, your name is lazy, your name is stupid, your name is rejected, your name is loser,” don’t let him talk smack. Hit him and say, “What’s My Name!” Your name is Overcomer! Victor! Redeemed! Child of God! Blameless! He doesn’t call you servant. He calls you His friend!
How do you hit the devil? When you choose God’s ways, and you pray. When you spend time with God. When you serve someone! When you give generously! When you tell someone about Jesus.