Then He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob (manipulator) but Israel (clinging firmly to God and overcoming) for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”
We come into the Kingdom of God bearing the heavy weight of the names we have either given ourselves or have been given by others. Those names are based upon our performance.
We name others in a similar way.
But like Jacob, we have been given a new name; a new identity—one that is not based on our performance, but on Christ’s finished and redemptive work for us.
This is our true identity.
Too often, the way we speak of ourselves (and others) is used by the evil one to make us forget our true identity, keeping us focused on and mired in the despair of our performance instead. And yet, even in this failure, the Gospel reveals what is true of us—not only are we identified by the righteousness of Christ (rather than our performance), but we have also received a new heart and a new spirit. Our heart’s deepest desire is to bring glory to God, and because of Jesus, we are now able to live out of that desire.
When we choose our surface desires and sin, we are taking on a false identity rather than remembering our true selves and living out our new names.
Similar to a child adopted into a new family from an orphanage, living as a daughter or son is something which must be learned. It’s easy to slip back into an orphan identity and forget who we truly are. Our brains must be rerouted so that our thoughts and speech are in line with the truth of the Gospel.
Listen to what you say about yourself and others.
Do you “name” yourself or others based on performance? If so, ask Jesus to help you move your focus off of performance identity and on to what Christ has done. Use scripture to not only instruct you, but to literally reroute (renew) your mind. Here is a simple, yet, transformational way of meditating on 2 Corinthians 5:21:
God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Ask the Spirit to lead you into the places in your heart that you may or may not be aware of. Ask Jesus to show you what old names you may be living out of and acknowledge that He has already taken that sin that once identified you onto Himself. Listening to your new heart, describe what a “righteous you” will be characterized by.
For example, if you struggle with lashing out when people or circumstances infringe on your ability to do what you had planned to do with your time:
God made Him who knew no selfishness to be self-focused, self-preoccupied, angry so that I might live as a woman who sees others and loves even when life is demanding.
God made Him who knew no _______________ to be ____________________ so that I might __________________ _______________________________.
Rerouting our patterns of thought is not a quick nor easy process, but it is a simple one. New automatic thoughts are created just as the old ones were…by repetition. This week, listen closely to the way you speak to yourself and to others. Align your thoughts to the truth of what the scripture says of you. Live out of your new name and call others by their new name as well. We are His children, named not by our performance, but by His provision. No longer slaves, but sons and daughters. Another way to receive and remember this truth is through music. Click here to listen to “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music.