Simply put…God alone can give us our true name. Only the Creator can perfectly name His creation. Only the Father can declare “who we are” as sons and daughters and have it be final.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalms 139:13-17)
“Listen to me…Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isa 49:1, 16(a))
“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. . . . You are precious in my eyes, because you are honoured and I love you. . . . The mountains may depart, the hills be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken” (Isaiah 43:1,4; 54:10).
What powerful truth to receive and live from…we are known for who we truly are and there is a name to reflect that. We often think, that is for others and not me. I am not that special OR we simply don’t take the time to ask and listen for the Father’s answer. I wanted to share my dad’s testimony about when he heard the Father speak his true name. This came later in life and I say that to make us aware that it takes time, intentionality, a deep desire to know and a pursuing of our name to hear it! He has been a godly and honorable man and at the right moment, when he was ready, he heard his true name. Listen to his words…
“God specifically laid on my heart the name Barnabas. And I have carried the duties of a Barnabas ever since.
Renaming people was common in the Scriptures, for a name described something about the person. In Genesis 17:5-15 Abram is renamed Abraham. Abram, which means “exalted father,” became Abraham, “father of multitudes.” Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whose name means “heel-grabber” and “schemer,” was renamed Israel, “prince of God.” The despondent Naomi asked her neighbors to no longer call her Naomi (delightful), but Mara(bitterness) because of the hard life she had experienced (Ruth 1:20). In the New Testament, a Christ-follower named Joseph was called Barnabas by the apostles (Acts 4:36). Barnabas means “son of encouragement,” which perfectly captured this man’s interactions with other believers and with the church.
I never saw myself as an encourager, though. A leader, a student of the Word, a dad, a husband and to many a dictator but never an encourager…but Jesus saw something different…beyond my many roles to my heart of hearts…to my deep potential in Christ.
Perhaps this is what Simon felt when Jesus renamed him. After Andrew was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, he immediately found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41–42). Jesus peered into his soul and validated and appreciated something deeply true about Simon. Yes, Jesus saw the failure and impetuous nature that would get him into trouble. But more than that He saw the potential of Simon to become a leader in the church. Jesus named him Cephas—Aramaic for Peter—a rock (John 1:42; see Matthew 16:18).
And so it is with us. God sees our pride, anger, and lack of love for others, but He also knows who we are in Christ. He calls us justified and reconciled (Rom. 5:9–10); forgiven, holy, and beloved (Colossians 2:13;3:12); chosen and faithful (Revelation 17:14)…and my personal favorite, son.
I thank God for knowing me fully, yet loving me all the same. Renaming me…and helping me to see others through His “renaming” eyes, too!
So where do we go from here? We need to know who we are and how the Father sees us or we will always have that question haunting our thoughts. Ask the Father for your TRUE name and listen intently to His voice! Stay at it. Ask until He answers and know that while you are waiting He is working! He will tell you, when you are ready and while you are waiting He is preparing you to receive it. Trust in His good heart and good intentions for you!
Start asking and listening!!