By Allen White
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. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. Genesis 17:3-6 (NIV)
Abram’s encounter with God changed his identity. He would no longer be called Abram meaning “exalted father.” God gave him a new name, Abraham meaning “father of a great multitude.” What a difference adding two little letters can make.
Abram literally had been called “father” all of his life. You wonder if that was a label of shame or expectation for him. Considering that Abram’s father Terah didn’t start a family until age 70 (Genesis 11:26), Abram very well could have been on the expectation side.
But, at 99 years of age, the human possibilities were being erased. At this point, God gave Abram a new identity. God called Abraham to something that only God could accomplish.
What labels have you borne in your life? Selfish, Insecure, Addicted, Angry, Greedy or Sinful? The Bible is full identity changes. The best examples are among the Corinthians: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Paul does some name calling here. First, he calls the Corinthians out for what they used to be. Then, he reminds them of who they are now: people with a second chance; people with a clear conscience and a clean heart; people with a new lease on life.
An encounter with God radically alters our reality. Once we get a glimpse of how God sees us, He enables those things to be accomplished in our lives.
What label is dogging you these days? What has God spoken to you today about what He thinks of you? Right now, peel off that old label and ask God for a new one.
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