What’s in a Name?

There are so many new names now … names that weren’t often heard when I was a kid. There are names that have stood the test of time like Mary or Bob or Naomi or David. The names that intrigue me most are the ones God says.

I love the examples in the Bible when God changed someone’s name. Abram became Abraham; Sarai became Sarah; Jacob became Israel; Saul became Paul. God changed their names when He claimed them as His own for His purpose.

One of my favorites didn’t involve the changing of a name as much as the clarifying of its meaning. Judges 6 gives the account of Gideon who was in a wine press beating wheat so the enemy would not get it. The angel of the Lord comes and calls him “valiant warrior” according to Judges 6:12. I can just imagine Gideon’s reaction …

Who me? You can’t be talking to me. I think you have the wrong guy.

But God saw what Gideon could not. God saw his potential. God saw His purpose in Gideon.

God didn’t change his name as He did with some of the other Biblical characters. Rather, he gave Gideon a glimpse of who he was in God.

I know that in heaven believers will receive a new name (Revelation 2:17) and I’m looking forward to that for sure. Just to know that name that God chose for me as I step into the perfect fullness of my identity in Him.

Still, what about now? Wouldn’t it be great if God would do for us what He did for Gideon?

He called Gideon by his potential. He put on Gideon the reality that he was as God saw him. He had to step up to it and follow completely.

I don’t want to miss anything God has for me. I don’t want to miss a blessing, a moment of strength, a fulfillment of identity, or a potential.

When I was in high school, my creative writing teacher said to me, “You must write. You have great potential.” He spoke these simple, massively impactful words. Yet, that was just a man walking this earth. Think what it would be like to have God call you by your potential.

God knows your name (Isaiah 43:1) (John 10:14-15). He knows every little detail about you. He knows the plans He made for you and how He intended you to use the gifts and strengths He gave you.

Are you like me? Do you ever wonder if you’re seeing your potential as God does?

Gideon went on to do mighty things in God’s power. But it began by God calling him as He saw him, “valiant warrior.”

One day after studying Gideon, I asked God about that very thing. I simply asked, “What is the potential You see in me?” He told me and changed my course from that day on. Do you want to know your potential? Ask your heavenly Father. It doesn’t hurt to ask.


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