July 2, 2009
What’s in a Name?
“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).
Friend to Friend
Most likely you have 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 mother great pain.
Maybe you have echoes in your memory of your mother 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 someone has made 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 don’t want to 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 someone’s estimation of him or the label his mother had placed on him, rule him for 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 his brothers. This was not a self-seeking prayer. 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 don’t care about anybody but yourself.”
“You’re just like your father.”
“You’re so selfish.”
Visualize whatever label you’ve allowed, to be written on a name tag. Now, visualize Jesus walking up to you and pulling that name tag off your chest, crumpling 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 any different!
Oh, and what of Jabez’s request? ”And God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
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. 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…dearly loved precious child.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
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.
I Corinthians 3:16
I Corinthians 6:17
I Corinthians 12: 27
2 Corinthians 5:18, 19
Whose opinion is more important to you and whose estimation is more correct – the people in your past or the God who made you? Whom are you going to believe?
To comment on today’s devotion, visit Sharon’s blog at www.sharonjaynes.com/blog
More From The Girlfriends
One of the most transforming teachings in the New Testament is about our identity in Christ. Knowing who we are and what we have in Christ helps us overcome feelings of inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy. If you would like to start acting like who God says you are, and walking in the confidence of a woman that is more than a conqueror, then check out Sharon’s book, Experience the Ultimate Makeover and discover God’s transforming power in your life!
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