December 30, 2004
Encouragement for Today

What's in a Name?
Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker

Key Verse

"Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain" (1 Chronicles 4:10 NIV).

Devotion:

You have likely heard about one man's little prayer tucked in 1 Chronicles 4.  His name is Jabez, and his name means "pain."  I don't know if it was a lapse in judgment or just plain meanness, but when Jabez was born, his momma was not a happy woman.  She bore this boy in pain and wanted to make sure he never forgot it.  So, she named him...Pain.  All his life, Jabez had to live under the cloud that he had caused his momma great pain.

Maybe you have echoes in your memory of your momma reminding you that you were a pain.  "You are such a pain."  "You cause me pain." "You are a bother."  "I sacrificed so much for you and you don't even appreciate it."  But you know what?  Even if she did make you feel like you were a royal pain that does not make it true.  God would beg to differ.  He absolutely adores you.  He loves you so much that He even gave His only Son so that you could spend eternity with Him.  We don't do that for people who are a pain.  On the contrary, we so what we can to not spend a minute with them...much less an eternity.

Let's go back to Jabez for a moment.  What did he do about the name he had been given?  He prayed.  He decided he was not going to let his mother's estimation of him or the label she had placed on him rule the rest of his life. Jabez cried out to God, "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.

1 Chronicles 4:9 tells us that Jabez was honorable - more honorable than all of his brothers.  His prayer was not a self-seeking one. He just wanted to be free of the label that had been slapped on him by his momma, and be loved by the God who could slap a blessing on his heart.

Perhaps you need to renounce a few names that have plagued you for years:

 "You're no good."
 "You're not a good daughter."
 "You're irresponsible."
 "You don't care about anybody but yourself."
 "You're just like your father."
 "You're so selfish."

Visualize the label you've allowed yourself to be called written on a name tag.  Now, visualize Jesus walking up to you and pulling that name tag off your chest, crumbling it up, and throwing it in the trash.  Now visualize Jesus picking up a permanent marker and writing your new name on your heart.

 New creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
 Salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)
 Light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
 Child of God (John 1:12)
 Righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24)

That's who you really are - and don't let anyone tell you differently!

Oh, and what of Jabez's request? "And God granted him what he requested" (1 Chronicles 4:10).


My prayer for today:

Dear Lord, Thank You for giving me a new name!  I pray that I will no longer remember the names that I have been called in the past, the labels that have been attached to my soul.  This one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead, I run the race with a new name - the one that you have given me - Precious Child.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


Application Steps:

Make a name tag with one of the above verses.  Consider wearing it under a sweater or jacket for an entire day.

Look up the following verses and note what they say about who you are in Christ.

John 15:15 
John 15:16 
Romans 6:18 
Romans 8:14,15  
I Corinthians 3:16 
I Corinthians 6:17 
I Corinthians 12:27 
2 Corinthians 5:18,19


Reflection Points:

Because this is so important, I am only going to give you one reflection point today.  Whose opinion is more important to you and whose estimation is more correct - the people in your past or the God who made you.  Who are you going to believe?


Power Verses:

"I am an heir of God since I am a son of God." (Galatians 4:6, 7 NIV)

"I am a saint." (Ephesians 1:1 NIV)

"I am God's workmanship created in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

"I am righteous and holy." (Ephesians 4:24 NIV)

 "I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life." (Colossians 3:4 NIV)

 "I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved." (Colossians 3:12 NIV)


 Additional Resources:

Ultimate Makeover: Becoming Spiritually Beautiful in Christ by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html

Becoming a Woman who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

Dreams of a Woman: God's Plans for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes
 http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/dreamswoman.html