Do you know what your name means?
Recently I learned my name means Messenger of Truth, which resonated with my spirit so clearly. That’s the amazing thing about our names—I have yet to hear one that doesn’t perfectly describe the person attached to it. I love that about our names. I love that they’re both descriptive and prophetic, calling us into a truer version of ourselves, the version God (and our parents) saw we could be.
Our names give us an identity, significance, belonging. Often, when God comes into our lives, He gives us new names, just like He did all the way through scripture. Simon wasn’t Simon anymore; he was Peter, Petra, the rock on which Jesus’ church would be built.
Saul wasn’t Saul anymore; instead God called him Paul, giving Him a new identity to match his change of heart.
God does this with us too—sometimes with our name, specifically, but always with our identity. When we surrender our lives to Christ, God replaces the old with the new, taking away the broken things of the past and giving us a fresh start. He calls us as we will be, not as we have been, both in identity and name.
The difficult part, though, is remembering our new name.
I remember when my wife and I got married—for the first several months she had a hard time writing Wilson instead of her maiden name. She had to remind herself that she’d been given a new name to replace her old one.
I think we often do this with our identity. We forget that the old has been taken away and the new has come. We forget that we’re not called “sinner,” “disappointment,” or “failure” anymore; we’re called, “saved,” “loved,” and “redeemed.” But that’s hard to remember. So many of us hold onto who we used to be, not living out Christ’s redemptive work in our lives. For many of us it’s a theory, a nice idea, but not a reality.
We live as though we’re still the old things, as though we still have our old name, when every opportunity is there for us to take on this new identity—all we have to do is remember to believe it.
But even this is easier said than done.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world doesn’t want us to be new.
The world tries to tell us at every turn that we’re still the old versions of ourselves, that we haven’t changed—“people don’t change,” it says.
Not only that, but the enemy of our souls is also hard at work to make us forget our new identity. Satan works at convincing us that the old will never be gone, that the new isn’t really new, that we’re just covering up our iniquities with a Band-Aid, or a thin rubber mask.
With the voices of the world, the enemy of our souls, and even our own thoughts convincing us we haven’t truly changed, how can we possibly live in the reality of our new identity?
We have to remind ourselves of what’s true.
After I learned the meaning of my name, Messenger of Truth, I began searching through the scriptures for verses that spoke to this identity. I looked for what it means to speak truth as well as for who God calls us and for what He says about us. I wrote them all down, compiling them into one easy-to-access place, at my fingertips for when I need them. And I need them often.
Here are some of the truths I found:
- Truth is walking tall and unashamed because I know I am a son of the most High God…so I don’t have to pretend to be somebody…I am somebody (Eph. 4:25)
- It’s living each day with confidence because no one can steal my inheritance…it’s secure in the Father’s hands. (Rom. 8:14-19)
- Truth is a deep understanding that I don’t need to impress anyone, prove anything, or hide who I am anymore. (Prov. 20:28)
- Truth is always being ready to serve, but not driven to be seen or noticed… I don’t have a NEED to be popular or respected by men (Luke 6:26)
- Truth is knowing that the Father loves me, adores me, and has chosen me…and this truth has set me free. (John 8:31-32)
- I am completely and perfectly loved by my Father…and this truth has made me fearless. (1 John 4:8)
Here’s what I do with this truth, now that I have it at the ready: I speak it over myself every single day. Because here’s the truth: we forget. It’s hard to remember who we are and easy to forget and revert back to who we’ve always been.
Scripture, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, is the most powerful weapon we have fighting for us.
But we have to use it.
We have to speak truth over ourselves day in and day out so we know and always remember who we are and Whose we are.