The most popular baby name in 2012 for a boy was Liam and for a girl was Emma. I’m sorry to say Stephen has never been in the top five names since 1910 but I’m hopeful for a strong showing in 2013. I'm happy with my name and glad it wasn't Harry (Harry Harrison is crazy - sorry to all the Harry Harrison's out there - and Johnny Johnsons, Sammy Samsons, Phillip Phillips, etc.). Parents in the western culture usually name kids based on preference. Most eastern culture names have great significance attached to them. For instance the name Sophia means “wisdom” and the name David means “beloved one”. Meaning of names worked out pretty well for my daughter Abby, which means “Her father rejoices.” That makes me smile. My daughter Kylee’s name means “boomerang”. That makes me laugh.
Names are precious and can reveal who we are. They can show a person’s character or uniqueness. In the Bible, names are very significant. God’s name is great! Psalm 8:1 says, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth.” At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). We gather in (Matthew 18:20), have salvation alone through (John 1:12), and pray in (John 14:13-14) Jesus’ name. God’s name is wonderful (Judges 13:18), to be worshiped (Genesis 21:33; 26:25), and holy (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). Just like David did, I praise the Lord with all my heart and bow only to Him. I praise His name for His unfailing love and faithfulness (Psalm 138:1-2).
God believes your name is also important. Maybe there is no real significance in the name your parents gave you, but there is great significance in who God wants you to become. When God saves us He changes our identity. We become His children – His family. We are adopted (Romans 8:14-17). God knows your name. Better yet, He has a new name for you. He did for Jacob. In Genesis 32:24-28 He basically told Jacob it’s time to come out of being a swindler, thief, and a lifetime of sinful behavior and start living for God. His new name would be Israel and He would become the foundation of the twelve tribes of God’s chosen people. He told Abram he would become Abraham, the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). He told Simon it’s time to be set apart and more than just a fisherman. He would become the first in every list of disciples, radical in his faith, and a leader of the first century church. His new name was Peter, which means “rock”. I like to call him “Rocky”.
Jacob tried to talk God out of his new name. Being honest and transparent, he was coming clean and owning up to his past. He was just admitting who he had always been. How could he ever be anything different? God’s response was and always is, “Great. Thanks for admitting you are a sinner and have a past. Everyone is like that. Now, let me tell you who you really are. Let me tell you who I am making you into. Let me give you a new identity.” When we try to go back to who we were, God wants us to remember that in Him we are a new creation with His name attached to us. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17 the old life has passed away and everything is now new in Christ. In Christ we are a new creation, have a new life, new spirit, new heart, new identity and a new name!
What has God called you out of and in to? Are you trying to live your new life in Him by reverting to who you used to be? Do your past failures and former way of living attempt to steal your new identity? Stop letting the world tell you who you are and choose to live in the new name and identity God has for you.