The PURPOSE of a NAME
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Ancient names were significant because they defined the character of a person. God changed the names of many biblical people in order to teach them their purpose.
- Your name determines your purpose.
- If my new name is Christian, then my purpose is worship, fellowship, discipleship, and evangelism.
FOCUSED on PURPOSE
Satan uses temptation to sidetrack us from accomplishing our intended purpose. That is why we must focus on our purpose.
- You need a purpose that is bigger and better than sin.
- Even when we mess up our life with sin, God still accomplishes His ultimate purpose.
JACOB I LOVED—ESAU I HATED
Malachi 1:2-3 states that God loved Jacob and hated Esau. Paul used this same phrase to reveal the mystery behind why God chose specific people over others to accomplish His purpose (Romans 9:11-16).
- Our merciful God chose the broken to accomplish His purpose.
1. Did you have a nickname growing up? What was the meaning behind this nick name? Are you fond of it?
2. What is the story behind your name? Why did your parents decide on that particular name? Do you know the meaning?
3. Discuss these men who allowed temptations to sidetrack them from their purpose: David (2 Sam. 11:1-2), Moses (Num. 20:9-12), Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-6). Is there a time in your life when you gave in to a sin and that prohibited you from accomplishing God’s purpose? Also, have you witnessed God accomplishing His purpose in spite of your short-comings?
4. Discuss the Holy Spirit’s role in deciding who gets what gift (1 Cor. 12:11; 1 Peter 4:10; Rom. 12:6). How does this connect with the idea that God loved Jacob and hated Esau? When is the last time you’ve thanked God for His merciful gifts to you?
5. Study these passages about God’s purpose (Exodus 9:16; Job 42:2; Proverbs 19:21; 20:5; Philippians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9).
Applying the Word to Life
6. What did God place you on this planet to accomplish? If you are unsure about this, ask yourself these questions: How do I worship God with my life? Am I experiencing genuine fellowship with others? Am I mentoring someone? Am I sharing my faith in my area of influence?
7. Have you ever taken a personal retreat? Have you ever gotten away for a day or a half-day in order to silence yourself and listen to God’s voice? Make plans to do that if you feel like you are questioning your specific purpose in life.