I don’t know if this will resonate with you. Maybe it will be exactly what you need to hear.
When we read in Genesis about the story of Jacob, we can observe the life of a master manipulator. From the time he was born, he lived up to his namesake, which means “deceiver”. Even though he was the younger of two brothers, through planning he stole his brother’s birthright and blessing. He met his match in his father-in-law who tricked him into marrying his older daughter as well as his younger daughter, just like Jacob tricked him in how he handled the flocks and herds. Jacob was definitely not a trustworthy person, except in that you could trust him to look out for his own interests first and foremost.
Jacob’s life changed, however, when he had an encounter with God in Genesis chapter 32. He sent his family ahead of him one night and stayed alone in the camp. The Bible doesn’t say why, but that night a man came and wrestled with Jacob until daybreak. As the man was losing, he knocked Jacob’s hip out of socket and begged him to let him go. Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man then asked, “What is your name?” And he replied, “Jacob (Deceiver).”
After that, the man changed Jacob’s name to Israel because he fought with God and won. His name and descendants would grow into a people chosen by God and directly cared for by God.
If there is a word that I have allowed to define me for a long time, it would be “Failure”. It was a name given to me by the enemy from the day I was born and in many ways, I lived up to my name sake. I was notorious for starting projects and letting them die, having dreams but leaving them in the sky, and receiving messages from God and not completing what He asked of me. There were very few things in my life in which I felt success. If ever I started to chase a dream, the enemy would remind me of my name. He would remind me of my history. He made me believe that was who I was.
However, not too long ago, I began to wrestle with God through the long night. I didn’t give up in my search for His blessing. He asked me for my name, so I told Him, “Failure.” Then He spoke to me and said, “I am going to give you a new name: World-Changer.” That is such a better name to live up to.
I am thankful that God changed Jacob’s name, and even more grateful that He changed mine. I could not have changed it on my own. I had to wrestle with the Divine.
How about you? What is your name? How does God want to redeem that today?