What’s in a Name?

“To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17

I used to hate my name as a child. I’m not sure whether it was really the name or the fact that there wasn’t much I liked about myself in those days, but I always wanted to change it. I spent a lot of time pretending; in my imagination, I could be whomever I wanted. I could choose any name—something more popular or that I thought sounded prettier—anyone but who I really was.

Have you ever wanted to change your name? That happens to be one of God’s specialties.

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,  “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.  No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. Genesis 17:3-5

God added one syllable to Abram’s name: ha. This is the equivalent to the Hebrew letter “h” which is also the word ruah. Its translation means breath or spirit. God demonstrated His ownership of Abraham by placing His Spirit within his name.

Abraham’s wife received the same privilege in Genesis 17:15-16.

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.  I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Their new names reflected both the presence of God with them and the roles that they would fulfill through Him. What a glorious God who “calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17), and that’s what they become!

Sarah and Abraham aren’t the only people in Scripture to receive the blessing of a new name. One particular Disciple experienced the transforming power of discovering his new name in Christ. At Peter’s very first encounter with Jesus, Jesus looked at him and said,

“You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). John 1:42

At their very first meeting, before they had any history together, Jesus told Simon he would be called Peter. Do you know what Peter means, dear one? Rock. Consider what that represents . . . strong . . . immovable . . . firm.

Rock is an interesting choice for the Disciple who would boldly pronounce Jesus to be the Christ and then turn around and deny Him.

Yet Jesus did not define Peter by his shortcomings or his failures. He spoke into his life what He desired him to be, and that’s what Peter eventually became.

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

Jesus called Peter a rock knowing full well he would soon deny Him. But after Jesus’ death on the cross and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter did become that rock. God’s presence within him empowered him to become the new creation Jesus saw He could be.

By what name does Jesus call you, beloved? Who has He ordained for you to be?

I recently discovered that my name means Mighty Warrior. The revelation brings a smile to my lips. I think of those early years, how I wanted to reject my name. I was anything but a warrior. Instead I cowered behind masks.

Then the Spirit of the living God came to dwell inside me when I gave my heart to Jesus, and everything changed. The desire to hide diminished as an urgency rose within me to proclaim my Lord’ s Truth. A boldness I had never known empowered me to stand for Him.

Last February, I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s conference in Florida. During a time of prayer, one of the other speakers placed her hand on me and began to pray for me, “We need you. You are a mighty warrior.”

I can’t recall what else she prayed. Her words collapsed me to my knees. I thought of my God who calls things that are not as though they are, and I wondered if that’s what I’d become. I do not see myself as a mighty warrior. I know my frailties, my weaknesses, every shortcoming. But I have to wonder, who does God see?

Long before she was ever ready to have a child, my mother selected my name. She was only a teen herself when she decided that one day if she had a daughter, she would call her Kelley. She couldn’t even really explain what drew her to that name; she just knew that’s who her daughter would be.

So when God gave her the daughter she had hoped for, she looked at the tiny baby she held and spoke the name that had been whispered into her heart.

It would be 26 years before I would begin to embrace my name, 26 years before I would receive the Spirit and begin my transformation. But all the while, mighty warrior was spoken over me each and every day.  

Have you allowed God to give you your kingdom name? Is your life a testament to His transforming power? Trust Him to lead you to who you’re meant to be. Become the overcomer. There’s a white stone in heaven waiting with your name on it.

2 replies
  1. Wendy Blight
    Wendy Blight says:

    Kelly, I just love this post!!! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful Truth with us through the use of Scripture as well as your own story.  You have such a gift to share God's Word!!
    Give my love to the Hanover girls!

    • Kelley
      Kelley says:

      Thanks so much, Wendy! I'm grateful for a God whose vision far exceeds our own. May we learn to trust Him for His very best for us!

      Thanks for the encouragement. I pray our paths will cross again soon!

      Love and Blessings,



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *