We should be careful what we name our kids. And in my opinion, we should be even more careful what we nickname them. They could spend their lifetime trying to live down a derogatory nickname or like me grow up hating their name. I hated my name because it was different. It seemed no one could pronounce it correctly. Most of the time I just answered to however they pronounced it. To make matters worse, we did not have middle names. I found out as an adult that my older siblings came up with my name trying to find something that rhymed with my twins name. To give them credit they had short notice to do this. The story is that my mother nor the doctor knew she was having twins until after my sister made her entrance, and then three minutes later I entered the world, surprising the doctor and sending my mother into shock. (literally).
They didn’t know, but God knew. God knew me before I was formed in my mother’s wound. According to the SSA, my name was first recorded on Thursday, June 5th, 1919. And until 2017 less than five people have had my name. I guess I am one of the less than five people. Also I have been told that in Trinidad, my name means beautiful daughter of the King. I’m not sure if that is true but I am the daughter of the King of Kings. I no longer hate my name. In fact, I like that it is different. I am different, set apart, and chosen by the Almighty!
A name is not just a name! Our names are an important part of our identity. They carry deep personal, cultural, ancestral, and historical connections. Our names give us a sense of who we are. In Biblical times, names carried great significance, telling something of what a person was or would become. God often changed the names of people who had special relationships with Him. He changed Abram to Abraham (Gen.17:51), Sarai to Sarah (Gen.17:15), and Jacob to Israel (Gen.32:28) just to name a few.
When Jesus met Simon, he recognized his leadership qualities. He also knew he was emotional, unstable, and quick to anger. Simon had weaknesses just as we all have. Jesus knew that Simon would need help. And He began by giving him a new name, Peter, which means “rock.” (John 1:40-42). Jesus gave Peter a nickname that was better than he was! Jesus gave Simon a nickname that meant stability and strength. Jesus saw what Peter could be. That’s how God looks at us. He see’s promise and possibilities. God sees what we can be, and He calls us His sons and daughters. Jesus told Peter that he was to be the rock on which He would build His church. And at the end of the day, Peter lived up to his name. On the day of Pentecost, the real power of the Holy Spirit was shown when Peter spoke, and three thousand souls were saved. The Holy Spirit filled Peter with all the gifts he needed to lead. In Jerusalem, Peter healed an incurable Cripple, who had been lame from birth. It was there that Peter preached his second recorded sermon. Five thousand men turned to Christ that day. Peter helped start the first church, worked miracles and baptized thousands.
The same way Jesus believed in Peter; He believes in us. God believes in us and loves us in spite of our weaknesses. God knows what we are made of, he made us. Just as Jesus gave Simon a new name, once we accept Jesus as our Savior and we are filled with the Holy Spirit as Peter was that day, we become a new person. That doesn’t mean we become sinless, but that we sin less because we have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. Some people in this world will give us nicknames or even call us out of our names based on how they perceive us. But when we encounter God, we, like Peter have the opportunity to cast off our old names the world has given us and embrace new identities from God who renames us because he has a different agenda for us! Love and Blessings…
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)NIV“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14)NLT
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14)NLT
“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isiah 43:1)NIV
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)NIV
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)NIV
“And I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)NIV