Everlasting Name Change



I’ve been thinking about how God changes people. Particularly about how he changed people’s names.

Abram to Abraham

Sarai to Sarah

Saul to Paul

Simon to Peter

It seems such a little thing. Women get married and change their names every day. People start businesses and choose names that represent their product, brand, or philosophy.

We give people nicknames based on their characteristics, habits, or humorous one time events.

My sister’s name was Beth all of our childhood. The story is I wanted a sister named Beth. When she started school in a new district in 8th grade she decided to go by her given name, Elizabeth.

I think I’m the only person, her older sister, who hasn’t made the switch. It’s not her name. Not who she is to me. (No, I’m absolutely not tearing up as I type this in a restaurant eating by myself. Sniff.)

We’ll be at a gathering where I’ll hear someone call, “Elizabeth!” And I wonder who they’re talking to.

And Elizabeth is actually my sister’s given name.

I have to ask myself what happened when God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

For 99 years he had been known as Abram, his given name. We aren’t talking about a teenage name change. We’re talking a century.

We aren’t talking about a whim here, either. We’re talking about God.

It’s not like you’re walking back into church telling the story of chugging a gallon of milk without taking a breath at youth camp only to discover it expired a month ago and was full of chunks second before you literally blew chunks over the 50 youth gathered around you cheering, and now they all call you Chunky Udder.

This isn’t that story.

This is standing in the town square wondering why the person named Abram won’t answer the individual who has hollered their name at least ten times. This it’s getting annoyed by all the people who keep thinking you’re some guy named Abram. This is you not realizing that you were Abram before God changed your name and now you are Abraham.

Ok. So you’re thinking I’ve lost many mind today, aren’t you?

Let me make Abraham a different name and see off you can connect.

My name used to be Gossip, but God changed it to Confidant and Counselor.

Every day someone recognizes me by my old name, Gossip, and tries to get me to respond to that name, but I didn’t change my name, God did. People confide in me because they know they can trust me to keep their personal information just that, personal.

Maybe your name used to be Cutter and people still call you that. Or Addict, or Adulterer, or Hypocrite, or Cheater, or Thief, or any of a million other things.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Did God change your name?

Yeah, people may not ever forget who you were before. And in some cases that’s smart of them. (Please note the SOME cases.)

However, what people call you won’t influence God’s name for you. Just like my sister will always be Beth to me, you will always be known as the name God gave you to Him.

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photo credit: Alan O’Rourke via photopin cc

4 responses to this post.

  1. Such a great post! I changed my last name in 1999 – I still have family members who refuse to acknowledge the change. One of my brothers went by his given name, Robert, until we were 18 – then out of the blue he decided he needed to go by Bob. I have a nephew who I have known all my life as 'Willie' but it turns out he is now going by his given name 'Dave' – and that is frustrating to me because his Dad's name is Dave. My niece still can't make up her mind as to which name to use – her first name or her middle name. I've always called her by her middle name because that's how it was while she was growing up. And you are right – God does know who we are – no matter what name we choose to use here on earth.


  2. Great post. Everyone deserves the chance to be who they want to be, even if if takes them awhile to figure out who that is


  3. I LOVE this post! It's so relatable! Growing up in our neighborhood, people had a rhyme they used to say about my sister, “Carolyn Annie, with the great big fanny!” which wasn't very kind. She was nothing like that for most of her life and yet, the name still clung to her by those she grew up with. And about my younger brother (now 50), it was “Binky Stinky,” I think because of a dirty diaper when he was a baby! And me “Ding-a-ling, String-a-ling!” because of my hair. Yet God knows us for the gifts He planted in us, not our imperfections. I think this piece is so well-written, I would send it off to a Christian magazine. Check a few out and query them. This piece can bless many people!
    Thanks so much for blessing me with it!


  4. Thank you for submitting to Motivation Monday!


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