Monday, September 14, 2009

What's In A Name?

Ever known someone who had an identity crisis? I've known people who believe they are what they do. If they lose their job, they suddenly lose who they are because they were so wrapped up in what they did. I've told my husband and close friends that if I ever think I'm more important than I am because of what I do, it's time for me to quit my job!

Just because something has happened to you doesn't mean that is who you are. Ever known someone to say about themselves "I'm divorced"? Your identity if different than your behavior. That is the point in which it becomes important for us to realize who God says we are. God identified us with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. So the strongest revelation in the Bible is who we are in Christ Jesus.

It's no wonder why people have an identity crisis when so many voices are trying to tell us who we are and what we are from the time we were born. But God is the Creator, so He deserves the right to tell us who we are and what we are like, right?

All through the Bible, God changed people's identities. Sometimes even they did not recognize who God said they were! It is the same with us. We have heard so many things about ourselves that when God tells us who we are, we are surprised.

God called Gideon "a mighty man of valor" when was hiding from the enemy. God changed Abram to Abraham which means "father of many" when he had no children. Jacob means "deceiver" and God changed his name to Israel, "prince of God". See a pattern here? They had to have an identity change to carry the spiritual inheritance God wanted them to carry. We all must have a change in identity to fulfill the destiny and dream God has for us.

God often calls us something even though there is no physical evidence to support it, but He is God. He reserves the right to reveal to us how He sees us and what He sees in us.

I'll discuss more about this on Friday's blog.


Anonymous said...

God has a special relationship with the people and nation of Israel. There is no denying the importance of this relationship in the pages of Scripture and in God’s plans for the people of the world. However, not everyone agrees on the meaning of the name “Israel.” Some believe it means “struggler” or “wrestler with God.” Others believe it means “one with whom God strives” or “one ruled by God.”

We know from Genesis 32 that it is the name God gave to Jacob after he wrestled with the Lord. First, the Lord asked Jacob what his name was. Not because God didn’t know – God is omniscient! But because He was making a point. The name “Jacob” meant “heel grabber” or “supplanter,” with the connotation of one who struggles through trickery. Jacob had spent most of his life “wrestling:” wrestling with his brother, his father, his employer, even his wives.

Now Jacob was being taught a lesson about the reward of struggling to know God and to receive His blessings, and at the same time, the futility of struggling against God’s will. This is why the best translation of the name “Israel” might be “the God-mastered man.” A man who desperately wants more of God’s blessings, and has been broken by God, can truly be used by God to change the world.

“And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Genesis 32:26-28

cj said...

So well said. Our experiences do not define our identity, neither does culture, our pain, our failures. No matter what has happened to us God calls us, beautiful, beloved, a saint, and the apple of His eye.

CJ Rapp
Author of I AM Says, "You Are..."
Understanding Your Identity in Christ