A lot of people have nicknames; names they’ve earned or possibly a name that describes them well.
Some nicknames are funny, while others are given out of spite.
There was a guy in my army basic training unit they referred to as “chicken bones” because that’s how skinny he was.
I’ve had a few nicknames over the years. Most were fun, but some were not.
Have you ever had someone attempt to tag you with a name that is demeaning, or at least one that’s less than flattering?
Names like “Loser”, “Bum”, “Good-for-nothing”, and “Worthless”?
As a child, did anyone ever tell you that you’d never amount to anything good? Did you ever hear these words, “I wish you had never been born”?
Maybe you started thinking your real name was “Worthless”, or “Stupid”. And it’s just possible you’ve spent your entire life trying to live “up” to that name.
Joseph was a guy in the early days of Christianity. He wasn’t a big shot in the church; at least he didn’t start out as one. He was just an ordinary Joe (literally) who loved his God and God’s people.
He developed a reputation for being the kind of guy who always believed the best of others, who always had a good word to share, a go to guy if you ever needed some cheering up.
The Apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, which meant “Son of Encouragement “.
As if he had encouragement for a father.
Well, the name stuck like glue. And it’s the name the Holy Spirit used when He called him into an apostolic ministry (Acts 13).
I can just imagine how Joseph must have felt, hearing the church’s leadership team call him by his nickname.
I picture him being so pumped, he was determined more than ever to be an encouragement to others, whether they reciprocated or not. Whether they appreciated it or not.
Did you know that Jesus has a special name He calls you? No matter what you’ve done, or what you’ve gone through, He speaks that name to His Father as He prays for you.
He calls you, “Mine”.
“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.” (John 17:9-10 ESV)
No matter how you’ve been labeled in the past, in Christ you are a new creation. Forget about the former failures. Let go of the nicknames that belonged to the “old man”, and embrace your Heavenly Father’s new name.
Can you imagine how your life would change if you remembered everyday what Jesus thinks of you?
I am His and He is mine. I belong to the Lord, the Ruler of the Universe, the Savior of my soul. He has made me accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
My heart is encouraged, knowing how He loves me. Knowing He’s not ashamed of me.
Even though I’ve failed Him more times than I care to remember, He’s never once said to me, “I wish you’d never been born.”
And He’ll never say that about you, either.
What’s your nickname? Is it one others tagged you with to be hateful to you? Were they jealous of you?
Drop that name and use the one that’s spoken before Heaven’s throne on your behalf.