Names are key identifiers for people, places, and things. Of course, part of the birthing process includes giving a name to a newborn. Some people name their children based on their preferences, and how cute a name sounds. The process of choosing the ideal name for a child maybe hard if you haven’t thought of a name, but for those who think about names often, the selection process is easy.
What Does Your Name Mean?
During Biblical times, children were given names with spiritual meanings. Perhaps you were informed about who named you, who you were named after, and the reason for your name. However, you may not have been told the meaning of your name. The reason could be that your parents didn’t know, or they forgot to tell you. Names can have a significant influence in a person’s life. You’ve probably heard that words have life as indicated in Proverbs 18:21.
The significance behind this verse is that words can be negative or positive thereby reflecting your mindset. I’ve heard parents yell at their children calling them obscene names and cursing at them. I would think to myself if you want to change the way your child is acting, change your words. If you don’t want your child to act stupid, don’t call him stupid.
I Samuel 25:3 reveals … “Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
Nabal’s name means fool or senseless. (See I Samuel 25:1-11). Abigail means Father rejoiced or father’s joy. (See I Samuel 25:12-44). In this context of scripture, this man and his wife exemplified the meaning of their names.
Throughout the Bible, you’ll find meanings of individual’s names either before their birth or after their birth. For example, when Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin was pregnant with John, the child’s father, Zacharias received instructions from an angel who appeared unto him while he was fulfilling his priest duty at the temple. He told him that he should name the child John. The angel also told him:
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither strong wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to their God.”(Luke 1:13-16). John’s name in the Hebrew language means Jehovah has been gracious; has shown favor.
This was a great indicator of how much John would make a significant impact in the kingdom of God. Jesus’ name was also associated with doing great works in Isaiah 9:6. This passage of scripture attributed him to being a:
- Wonderful Counsellor
- Mighty God
- Everlasting Father
- Prince of Peace
These attributes were fulfilled during Jesus’ ministry on earth and continue to impact us today.
However, there is another example regarding how a person’s name can have a negative impact on their personal development. I Chronicles 4 reveals the geneaology of Judah, Jacob’s son. The extensive lineage indicates unity and strength particularly with many men within the family. Although identified as a large clan, Jabez stood out among his brethren and other relatives. I Chronicles 4:9 reveals … “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.”
Can you imagine the depression that must have infiltrated Jabez’s mind as a child? It’s a known fact that childbirth is very painful. However, Jabez’s mother’s pain must have devastated her to the point where she was mentally scarred. Her pain could have also been emotional if there was some conflict between her and Jabez’s father. Whatever the circumstance was that led her to name her son such a grievous label, Jabez reached the point where he decided he didn’t have to settle for a sorrowful life.
Despite the forecast of doom predicted by his mother, Jabez cried out to God. I Chronicles 4:10 reveals his prayer … “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”
This is great hope. Despite what you’ve been named or called in the past, God can change your destiny. You may not have been born in an ideal family structure, but you can obtain everything God says that you can have.
I remember talking to a man once about a community project I was working on. During our conversation, he began to veer off and talk about something unrelated to the program. He began talking about an accomplishment that a young man had made in his life, which I thought was wonderful, and he pronounced his projection of the young man’s future. However, during our discussion, he interjected, and said not you because you’re dysfunctional. I thought to myself, where did that come from? That’s what you think about me although you’re pretending to be interested in what I’m presenting to you about this community program?
Then I remember during many of his speeches how he made superior remarks about being born within a two-parent household. Although ideal according to societal standards, his mindset makes me think less of him in terms of his intelligence because being reared in a two-parent household doesn’t reflect superior character.
This type of dialogue revealed to me how some people think despite of the good works you do. That’s why it’s important to love and affirm yourself. Jabez didn’t get the emotional support he needed while growing up. Nevertheless, he looked beyond his lack of maternal affirmation and sought God for validation.
Your Name is Being Called
Throughout history, surnames have also had significant prominence in families especially if a family’s lineage has a strong financial position in the world’s economic system. A family can also have profound recognition in social sects such as religion, higher education, or athletic organizations. As a result, younger generations are expected to act a certain way because they are a fill in the blank (i.e., last name). This recognition can be good especially when it comes to obtaining career or political opportunities. On the contrary, it can stressful if the person wants to explore other opportunities that are opposite of the family’s line of business or societal realm. If the person veers off onto another path, he or she is still expected to live up to the family name.
If your parents were kind enough to give you a name that has a good meaning, that’s great. If you know the meaning of your name and have exemplified the character that your name intends the carrier to personify, that’s also great. This means you’re on the right track. However, if you’ve been sort of meandering your way through life not really knowing what to do because you haven’t had any encouragement, you still have an opportunity to learn about your name.
Despite your shortcomings, you can come up to the standards that you were intended to fulfill (See Jeremiah 29:11).
If your parents were very creative in choosing your name, and you can’t find the meaning, then you can just focus on what God calls you such as his:
- Beloved (Romans 9:25)
- Friend (John 15:14)
- Chosen generation (I Peter 2:9)
- Royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9)
- Sons of God (I John 3:2)
- Diadem (Isaiah 62:3)
Many people are consumed with increasing awareness about their brand or identity whether good or bad. There are also those who are not sure who they are, so they follow anyone who appears to be better intellectually, physically, and socially. While this may be true in terms of those who have good leadership skills, followers must also recognize their worth. You can’t be so consumed with following others to the point where you feel you have no value, and you neglect to develop yourself. Rise up and start studying your first and last name. You can find name meanings here.
You may feel low right now, but look up, and believe that you are chosen and called by God to fulfill great work in his Kingdom. Others may not have valued you for your contribution, but God is calling you forth to life (See John 10:10) as Jesus called Lazarus back to life (See John 11:43). Shake off the grave clothes of doubt, low self esteem, and rejection.Your divine destiny is calling your name, will you answer?