Joel Osteen - Change Your Name
I want to talk to you today about Change Your Name. It's easy to go through life letting people put names on us, things like average, unqualified, poor, addicted. Sometimes our own thoughts have named us: not talented, not good enough, unattractive. As long as we're wearing these names, believe in the lies that people and circumstances have told us, it's going to keep us from our potential. You have to change your name. I'm not talking about on your birth certificate, I'm talking about in your mind. Who do you believe you are? How do you see yourself? When God breathed life into you, he named you blessed, prosperous, talented, one-of-a-kind. He calls you a masterpiece. People will call you average, ordinary, nothing special. If you accept those names you'll be average, ordinary, nothing special. And what's holding many people back is they have the wrong name.
A man was walking down a busy street in Thailand, he came upon this tattoo shop. In the window there were many of the tattoos they offered. One said "Born to lose". He couldn't believe anyone would have that tattooed on them. The owner came up, they struck up a conversation, he asked the owner if anyone ever got the born to lose tattoos? The owner nodded his head yes and said in broken English: before tattooed on body, tattooed on mind. He's exactly right: if you accept the name in your mind, if you believe negative things people have spoken over you, if you let life name you, you're giving it the right to come to pass.
In your mind is your name born to lose or born to win? Is your name poor, broke, defeated, or is your name blessed, prosperous, more than enough? Have you let life name you addicted, struggling, limited or do you go by what God names you: free, whole, victorious, overcomer? Anything that's telling you otherwise, you need to change those names.
In the scripture Jacobs wife Rachel died while giving birth to their second son. The baby was born fine, but she was in so much pain, just before she died she named the baby Ben-Oni, which means Son of my Sorrow. Here the little baby had done nothing wrong, but he was going to have to go through life being called "Son of Sorrow". Back in those days the names they gave people were much more significant than today. Those names could literally determine the person's destiny. It seemed like for little Ben-Oni is just bad luck, his mother was in pain, she took out her misery on him, she pronounced that he would live a painful, sorrowful, depressing life.
And sometimes the people that should have been speaking faith into you, naming you talented, valuable, masterpiece, have done just the opposite. Because they were hurting, because they were in pain, they named you "Less than", "Not good enough". They may not have said it, but how they made you feel, putting you down, not showing your love and affection. The good news is: what God names you overrides what people name you. They may name your Son of Sorrow, son of pain, son of defeat — God names you son of victory, son of favor, son of blessing. Don't let the negative things people have spoken over you, how you were raised, what you didn't get, determine your destiny — change your name.
A few minutes after Rachel died, Jacob came running in, the nurses handed him the baby and said here's your son, his name is Ben-Oni. When Jacob heard that something rose up on the inside, he said "No, that is not his name. No matter what's happened in the past, no matter what someone else said, he will not be called Son of Sorrow, his name is Benjamin". Benjamin means son of strength, son of power. In that one moment, with that one name change, he went from "Son of Sorrow" to "Son of strength". Benjamin went on to do great things, he became a great leader. Out of his genes, out of his family line came the kings of Israel, one king after another.
God had a great assignment for Benjamin, but he knew, if he had gone through life being called "Son of Sorrow", that would have gotten on the inside. He would have seen himself as limited and defeated. So God stepped up and said, "No, he will not be the Son of Sorrow. He is not the son of defeat. This child is a son of destiny, this child has greatness in him".
Now maybe someone has tried to name you average, unqualified, unattractive, too many mistakes. God is saying to you, what he said to Benjamin: I'm changing your name, no more Son of Sorrow, no more son of not good enough, I'm renaming you: son of strength, daughter of destiny, child of greatness. Now you have to do your part and get rid of the old names. The enemy would love for you to live as the Son of Sorrow, when God has called you the son of strength. He knows what's in you, that's why he's been fighting you since you were a little child, trying to change your name, through people, through disappointments, through your own mistakes and failures.
But when you learn to change your name back to who you were created to be, all the forces of darkness cannot stop you. When you know you're a son of strength, equipped and empowered, talented and creative, surrounded by God's favor, with royal blood flowing through your veins, then doors will open that no man can shout, the right people will suddenly show up, you will overcome obstacles that look too big. When you have the right name, you'll go further than you ever imagined.
I know a man that was told by his high school counselor, he wasn't very smart, and that he should pursue the lowest skilled job that he could find. The counselor may have met well, but people don't know what's in you, they can't see your seeds of greatness. That's why David's father left David out in the shepherd's fields, when the prophet came to anoint one of the sons as the next king. David seemed ordinary, he wasn't like his older brother Eliab, he was tall, handsome, he looked like a king. David's father thought: David will never amount to much, nothing special about him. He named David average, but God named him giant killer. He named him a shepherd boy, God named him a history-maker. His father named David "Not going to amount to much", God named him king of Israel. Don't let what people can't see in you talk you out of who you know you are.
This counselor didn't see anything special in this young man, he named him below, average, not talented, barely get by. For 30 years this man believed those lies, he went around thinking: I'm not smart enough, I'm not up to par, I don't have what others have. He worked at the local factory and stayed at the lowest level position year after year. One day that factory closed, he went across town to another factory and applied for a job. They had a policy that every applicant had to take an iq test. He took the test, his score came back at a genius level. The owner called him and said "What are you doing applying for this low level position? You've scored higher than anyone in our company's 60-year history".
That day a stronghold was broken in his mind, he realized what that councilor couldn't see in him did not define who he was. What people have spoken over you or what they haven't spoken over you hasn't changed what's in you, it didn't lessen your potential, the greatness is still in there. He did what I'm asking us to do, he changed his name: no more "Not good enough", no more "Not talented". He started seeing himself as bright, as valuable, as one with seeds of greatness.
Eventually he started his own company, he went on to invent several products that are now patented and very successful. You can't stop people from saying negative things, but I've learned, you are not what people call you, you are what you answer to. They may call you unattractive, unqualified, not up to par, that's fine, just don't answer to it. When thoughts say: hello fearful, hello depressed, hello insecure, "You must not be talking to me, that's not who I am, I am confident, I am secure, I am victorious". Well, "Hello sick, hello limited, hello chronic pain". Sorry there's no one here by that name, you must have the wrong address, I am healthy, whole, energetic, that's who lives here.
Are you answering to something that you're not? Quit giving your time and energy letting those negative thoughts play, that is not who you are. When thoughts whisper: you don't deserve to be blessed, you made too many mistakes, you're unworthy. Recognize what's happening, they're trying to rename you. When you hear forgiven, redeemed, restored, that's when you need to listen. Well, "Hello unqualified, inexperienced, less than". Excuse me, do you mean anointed, highly favored, well able? That's who I am. When thoughts tell you: you're not attractive, nobody wants to be around you, you don't have a good personality, you're too tall, too short. Don't give that the time of day. When you hear, "Hello masterpiece, hello good-looking", yes, how can I help you? Now you're calling my name. Answer to victorious, answer to fearfully and wonderfully made, answer to overcomer.
Growing up my friends at school used to call me peanut, because I was very small. Nobody said it in a derogatory sense, but I can tell you, it didn't help my self-esteem. All through the day, "Hey peanut, how's it going"? Playing basketball, "Peanut passed me the ball". I couldn't stop them from calling me peanut, but I never let peanut get on the inside. I didn't let them change who I knew I was. And yes, I was small, but deep down I knew, there was a history maker in me. I wasn't as strong as some of my friends, but I knew there was a giant killer on the inside. They couldn't see it, all they could see was peanut, but I never let peanut take root in me.
Even going into high school, my freshman year, I was 4 feet 11 inches tall, I grew a lot after high school. But you can imagine at my basketball games people say, look at that little kid, look how small he is. I never saw myself that way, I may have been four feet 11 on the outside, but on the inside I stood 7 feet tall. People can call you a lot of things, but you don't have to let it get in you.
Go back to what God says about you, let your Heavenly Father name you, not people, not your mistakes, not your past. God calls you exceptional, he calls you redeemed and forgiven, he calls you healthy and whole, he calls you a masterpiece, a giant killer, a history maker. Now do your part and let what he names you override all the other names. Your assignment is too important to go through life we're in names like inferior, unqualified, average. I'm asking you to change those names and get an agreement with God.
A friend of mine grew up in El Salvador, his father was an alcoholic, would become very violent when he was drinking. His mother moved to the United States when he was a small child, and he was raised by his grandparents. As a young boy he felt lost and confused, he did very poorly in school, he didn't interact socially with people. And one day he overheard his grandparents talking about how he was mentally impaired, how he was a slow learner, how he needed help. They sent him to a psychiatrist and he confirmed that the little boy had all these learning disabilities. He was told again and again he would never amount to much, he wasn't talented, he wasn't smart enough.
At ten years old he was about to move back to the States with his mother, he told his grandfather that he needed an American name. He had never heard his grandfather say one good thing about him, but his grandfather looked up in the air and started thinking. He said: okay son, this name needs to be something very strong, something that says honor, something that says valor, it needs to be the name of a great leader, of a genius, of someone that will impact the world. He said: I've got, it your new name will be Erwin.
Well, the little boy had never heard the name Erwin, he didn't like that name, he wanted a normal American name like John or bill. Over the years he moved from state to state with his mother, he could have changed his name at any time, but he wouldn't do it. As much as he didn't like his new name, what made him keep it, is that was the only time he'd ever heard anyone say he was going to do something great. His grandparents, teachers, counselors, never encouraged him, but that day he heard that he was going to impact the world, that he would be a person of honor and valor, that that was the name of a genius.
He knew all the negative things said about him, but this day someone was saying he was exceptional, that he had seeds of greatness. And every time he was tempted to sweep back, settle for mediocrity, he would remember what his grandfather said the name Erwin represent. Today our friend Erwin McManus is an amazing pastor, author, filmmaker, one of the brightest minds around. But I wonder, if we would have ever heard of Erwin, I wonder if his gifts would have ever come out if he had not changed his name, if his grandfather had not reminded him who he really was, not who people he was, not who the experts said he was, not who the environment said he was, but who God said he was: a masterpiece, valuable, talented, with seeds of greatness.
Maybe like with Erwin, no one has ever told you who you really are. Life has put some names on you, told you what you can't do, what you're not, how you've made too many mistakes. God has you hearing this, because he wants you to change your name. No more mediocre, no more born to lose, there is greatness in you. When God created you, he put a part of himself in you, he's equipped you, empowered you and anointed you. He crowned you with his favor. Your new names are blessed, prosperous, well able, forgiving, talented, one-of-a-kind, a masterpiece.
When God gave Abraham and Sarah the promise that they were going to have a baby, they were both way too old. It looked impossible, but God did something unusual: he didn't just give them the promise, he changed their names from Abram to Abraham. Abraham means father of many nations. When God changed his name, they didn't have one child. Yet, every time someone said, "Hello, Abraham", they were saying, "Hello, father of many nations". They were speaking faith into his destiny. What you continually hear starts to get down on the inside. That's why it's so important to have the right names: I am blessed, I am talented, I am healthy.
"Well, Joel, I don't feel healthy". Well, keep calling yourself that, that's what allows it to happen. "I don't feel blessed, I'm in debt, I'm struggling, I've got these bills". You're right where Abraham was. He could have said, "We don't have any children, we're not gonna have a baby. God my wife has gone through the change of life", that's why God changed his name, so he would hear it again and again: you're the father of many nations. You may not feel blessed, you're tempted to talk about what you don't have, how it's not going to improve. That's why you're here, God is changing your name from lack, from struggle, from not enough - to blessed, to prosperous, to more than enough.
Now you have to keep calling yourself what God says about you. May not happen overnight, Abraham waited for years, but every time you call yourself what God named you, it's getting deeper on the inside, it's changing your self-image, it's reprogramming your thinking. I'm sure many times Abraham thought, "We're never going to have a baby". About that time someone would walk up and call his name, "Hey, Abraham", he would be reminded, "You're the father of many nations". You have to call yourself blessed, before you'll ever be blessed. You have to call yourself healthy, while you're still fighting the illness. Call yourself free, while you're still struggling with the addiction. Having the right names is what's going to help you to stand strong, so you can become what God says about you.
God changed Sarah's name from Sarai to Sarah. Sarah means princess. If anyone didn't feel like a princess, it would have been Sarah. She had been barren for over 80 years. She didn't feel attractive, didn't feel special, everything told her: you're finished, you'll never have a baby. She could have said, "Don't change my name, just call me Sarai, I'm not a princess, that's not going to do any good". No, she accepted the name-change, she said in effect, "This seems impossible, the odds are against me, but if God says I'm a prince's, then I'm going to get an agreement with him". And every time someone said, "Good morning, Sarah", they were saying, "Good morning, princess". She heard that so many times, something began to come alive on the inside, faith started to rise up. It wasn't long after that before the promise came to pass.
You may have situations, that you don't see how it could work out in your health, your career, a relationship. What you're up against looks permanent, like with Abraham and Sarah, God is changing your name. You've had that addiction for years, God is calling you free. You haven't been able to have a baby, you've been barren, God is calling the fruit of your womb blessed, he's calling you a mother. Your dream seems too big, you don't have the experience, the training, God is calling you successful, he's calling you bountiful, flourishing, abundant. Now, the whole key is: will you do like them and accept the name-change? Will you keep calling yourself what God calls you, even when it doesn't make sense? Every time you do it it's getting stronger on the inside, and eventually you're going to become what God named you.
Luke chapter 1 and angel appeared to Zechariah, and told him that his wife Elizabeth was going to have a baby, that they were to name John. Well, like Sarah, Elizabeth was way too old. Zechariah questioned the angel and asked: how it was going to happen? The angel told him, that what God promised, would come to pass, but because Zechariah doubted, he would remain silent until the baby was born. From that moment on he couldn't speak. Nine months later, Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy. The family, the relatives were so excited they came over to the house to celebrate. Verse 59 says, "They wanted to name the son Zechariah after his father".
God said his name is John, but they wanted to name him something different. We all have some "They's" in life, people that will try to name you something that you're not. They may be well-meaning. When my father was a teenager, his parents told him that he couldn't become a minister, that all he knew how to do was pick cotton. God named him a pastor, but they named him less than, not up to par. If he would have accepted their names, he would have never impacted the world. Don't let they name you, let God name you.
Elizabeth said to them, "No, his name will not be Zechariah, his name will be John". They said, what do you mean? Nobody in your family is named John, that doesn't make sense. They went to Zechariah, the father, to ask him what the baby's name would be. He still couldn't speak, so he wrote on a tablet, his name is John. Suddenly he was able to speak again. But what's interesting is, the mother couldn't name the baby, women in those days didn't have the influence that they have today. The family, the friends, the neighbors, they couldn't name the child. The only one that had the authority to name the baby was the father. They had to go find Zechariah to see what the child's name would be.
The principal is your Heavenly Father is the only one, that has the right to name you. Don't go through life letting other people put their names on you. They'll try to name you addicted, struggling, defeated. God names you free, whole, victorious. The "They's" will name your average, mediocre. God names you a masterpiece, one-of-a-kind, exceptional. People will try to name you washed up, too many mistakes. God names you forgiven, redeemed, and restored.
Have you let the "They's" name you? Have you let life convince you who you are, letting those negative thoughts tell you that there's nothing good in your future? Like with Abraham and Sarah, right now, God is changing your name. Your new names are blessed, prosperous, one-of-a-kind, valuable, child of the Most High. Now, do your part and accept the name-change. Tune out all the negative and keep calling yourself what God calls you. If you'll do this, I believe and declare, strongholds that have held you back are being broken, you are about to step up to who you were created to be, new levels of influence, favor, restoration, healing, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.