Your New Name


Last year, I shared my experience beginning to take yogaAt that time, I shared that I was uncomfortable with the idea that yoga is often associated with Eastern religions. The class I was taking became more and more linked with Hinduism, and I stopped enjoying it. Then I found out my church was offering “Holy Yoga.” I’ve been going for a few months, and absolutely LOVE it! Instead of hearing “Hare Krishna, hare hare hare” over and over for an hour, I get to listen to songs praising God. Heather, the yoga instructor and creator of HeartSoulMindYoga writes and shares a devotional during the class. Last week she talked about how God will give each believer a new name, (Rev. 2:17). 

I love the idea that God will choose a name for me, especially because of all the names I was called by my abuser, like b—-, idiot, stupid, selfish, cry baby, terrible wife and mother, etc. etc. Logically, I know I am none of these things. But hearing them over and over for years begins to wear away at a person’s soul. How beautiful to think of God choosing a special name just for me one day! Awesome, thank you Heather! Click here for a podcast of her devotional. Here is an excerpt:

Revelation 2:17 says:

Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some of the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. I will also give each person a white stone with a new name written on it, a name that is known only to the person who receives it.

In Biblical times, names had great meaning. Names were viewed as adjectives . . . describing who a person was. Old Testament parents chose the name of their child based on their physical attributes, their demeanor in the first days of life, or the circumstances surrounding their conception and birth. In those days, a name could be a gift or a curse.

Are you familiar with the story in the Old Testament about Esau and Jacob? This story is found in Genesis 25:19-34, 27:1 – 32:32. Jacob and Esau were twin brothers and their names were chosen to suit them. Esau’s name means hairy and apparently, he lived up to his name. Jacob’s name means supplanter . . . or . . . swindler, usurper, one who is a little bit devious and conniving and crooked. Jacob lived up to the meaning of his name time and again by stealing from his brother. When Esau learned of Jacob’s second theft, he planned to kill him, so Jacob ran away. He left his home and went to live with his uncle Laban. 

In Laban’s home Jacob got a taste of his own medicine. Laban swindled Jacob and treated him unfairly. Eventually Jacob took his wives, children, livestock and all his possessions and turned back to his homeland. On his way, he found out that Esau was coming to meet him. Fearful for his life and the lives of his family, Jacob sent his wives, children and servants ahead and turned to God, praying and asking that the Lord protect him and those he loved. The Bible says Jacob wrestled all night with a man. The man touched his hip and injured it so badly, Jacob walked with a limp. In the morning, before allowing the man to leave, Jacob demanded a blessing from him and the man blessed him saying, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome. (Genesis 35:10). The name Israel means: God prevails or he struggles with God.

God gave Jacob a new name to fit his new circumstances. In essence, God said to Jacob, “Your name of swindler and usurper no longer fits you. You are no longer defined by your past actions of trickery and dishonesty. You have wrestled with God and as a result you are no longer the same person you were. I have a new identity for you.”  

I find it noteworthy that God didn’t just give Jacob a new name and send him on his way. He also touched Jacob’s hip in a way that caused him to talk with a limp forever. We can view this limp in two ways. We can see it as a punishment for all Jacob had done, but I see it as a reminder of who Jacob used to be.

As former abuse victims, we all, like Jacob, have experienced pain and now walk with some type of “limp.” But, we now have a new name and a new identity. Tweet This

The morning after he wrestled with God, Jacob went to meet his brother. He was terrified that Esau would kill him for stealing his birthright. I believe God led a limping Jacob to that meeting as a reminder to Jacob that he was fully dependent on God. God has the power to heal us completely from our limp, but he doesn’t usually do that. Instead, he leaves us with the emotional or physical limp to give us a daily reminder to depend on Him.

I (Heather), had a bad day last week. I dropped the ball on something and I had bunch of lies looping in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. I asked my Facebook friends if they had any tips to stop this broken record of negative self-talk. My pastor, Ryan Paulson of South Fellowship Church, wrote:

“We can’t stop our negative self-talk if we are simply trying to stop it. It actually does the opposite and we find ourselves thinking about it more. What has worked for me (and I believe it’s the biblical model) is to replace negative self-talk (which are typically lies) with positive truth!” Tweet This

This positive truth is the new name that God has given you! It’s the adjectives that describe you now that you have stepped into His grace and salvation. You are no longer defined by your sins or what’s happened to you. You are defined by His grace. Who He is. What He has done. And even if you walk with a limp from your past life, don’t try to ignore or hide it. Instead, let it remind you to depend on God. Revelation 21:5 says:

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Wow! That devotional blew me away! How appropriate for those of us who are currently or have been abused. I ran up to her right after class and asked if I could use this devotional for a blog! She graciously said yes.

Question: What do you think about the idea that God will give you a new name?

I pray we all will look forward to the day when our past will be completely forgotten, and God will give us a new name. I hope part of my name is Overcomer. Thank you Lord for helping me overcome!

May He bless you all.



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