Naming something is a powerful thing. It says something about authority and even speaks about passion and vision.
14 years ago, when deciding a name for our daughter, Anne and I had quite a few disagreements about what our little girl would be called. We knew it had to be a name that we were both excited about as well as something that kids on the playground can’t use to twist and make fun of her. I brought up names like Cosette, Fantine, and Eponine. Obviously my passion for Les Miserables (both book and musical) were coming out. Those immediately went to the chopping block. We bounced from name to name before we settled on a name we love: Camryn Noelle.
It’s a lot of pressure to come up with a name that a child will FOREVER be known as. Again, naming is a powerful thing.
Genesis is a story of new beginnings. Early in creation’s story, Adam is given the responsibility to name animals. In my futile mind, this had to be an immense amount of pressure. To name all of the animals with names that not just give them identity for the moment but would be the name they would carry for centuries.
There’s a so much we can get into but I specifically want to look at Genesis 3:1-21. I think it’s really important that we get the back-story of what’s taking place.
- Woman eats the fruit from the tree that she knew she wasn’t supposed to even touch.
- Adam take the fruit from the woman and eats it.
- Eyes are opened. Fear and shame sets in.
- The curse is pronounced upon the serpent.
- We see the repercussions of sin
It’s verses 20-21 that I want to focus in on. It is here that Adam’s wife is not longer called “woman”. Why? Simply said: Because he names her. The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
These are two amazing scriptures. There’s so much redemption packed into these two verses. It is in verse 20 that, up unto this point in the story, the woman has only been referred to as “woman” and not “Eve”. (I’m thinking how Anne would act if all I ever called her was woman…maybe I’ll save that for another blog.) Remember: She was the one who listened to the serpent. She was the one who took the bit. She gave it to her husband. It is at this point in the story that Adam decides to name his wife. But instead of naming her “sin” or “weakness” or something to reflect frustration and hurt. He does something else…
He names her Eve.
He names her “potential”
The moment of her greatest tragedy, grace was extended. Why? Adam was made in the image of God. He was reacting in the redemptive way God responds to us. In fact. if you follow verse 21, you see that instead of leaving them in fear and shame, God provides a covering for them. An innocent animal is sacrificed for them to have a covering over their shame.
Again…there is so much redemption in these verses.
My simple TRUTH I want to share this week with ya is this:
You have the power to name the people in your life.
I’m not talking about taking your spouse down to city hall and legally changing their name. I’m talking about everything that we attach to our spouse’s identity. We have the power to fix an identity to them and force them to wear it whether they like it or not. Adam probably could have justified any other name for Eve to reflect her mistake. But he names her “potential”. He recognizes that he himself was not innocent and he looks at her with vision and speaks that vision over her life. Her name is Eve: the mother of all things.
How often have we allowed a bad circumstance to dictate the identity we stick to our spouse. They’ve made a mistake and we use the line, “I’ll forgive but I won’t forget” and they have to live with a label forever. I’ve had people say, “they keep making the same mistakes”. That may be true in some circumstances, but how many spouses are living out the expectations attached to the labels we place upon them.
Do they keep failing because you continue to let them know they are failures.
Do they have expectations to follow that identity because not only do you attached labels, but because of who you’ve talked to (parents, friends, etc), other people now look at them with labels?
Do they continue down paths because a spouse hasn’t taken the chance to name them “potential”?
Proverbs 18:21 teaches us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The wisdom of this truth is seen in all of life. Kind words breed warmth of relationship; harsh words breed tension and separation. True words build trust and confidence; lies break trust, and doubt and suspicion replace confidence. Words are central to our most meaningful relationships.
If you want to see change. Change their name. In other words, change what you have attached to way you have labeled them. For too long, we have allowed our spouses to wear labels that they were never meant to wear. Their backs have been breaking under the weight of faults, bitterness, unrealistic expectations, and unforgiveness. Their legs grow weary walking the stressful paths we’ve placed them on. It’s time to change their destiny by starting with their name.
Name them “potential”.
A simple prescription to help you bring “potential” in your spouse is to speak blessing over and in them. There are numbers of ways to bless someone but the most affirming are those blessings that come in words:
1) Words that affirm and approve
2) Words that commend and compliment
3) Words that specifically speak love and affection
4) Words that invoke hope and self-confidence
5) Words that answer pain and disappointment with support and faith.
As you speak blessing and potential over them. A new identity will arise in your heart AS WELL AS within their heart. Watch them rise to the potential as you unleash them to grow. Watch your passion for them grow as you release the issues to the Lord and see your spouse for how God created them.
Set your spouse up for success!! Give them a new name.
Thanks for letting me ramble…