Will You Chose God’s Amazing Name For You Mid-Week Devtion 2

Philemon - Love changes everything

From Slave to Brother: From Useless To Useful The Importance of a Name

Scripture: Philemon 1:10-16


In our journey through the book of Philemon, we encounter a remarkable story of transformation and redemption. It’s the story of Onesimus, a runaway slave who encounters the apostle Paul and, through their meeting, experiences a profound change of heart.

Imagine Onesimus’ journey. He’s on the run, likely filled with fear and uncertainty about his future. But then, in a twist of fate, he crosses paths with Paul, who introduces him to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. In that moment, everything changes. Through Paul’s influence, Onesimus not only finds faith in Christ but also discovers a newfound sense of purpose and identity.

Onesimus, whose name means “useful,” had initially lived up to little of his name’s potential. He was a runaway slave, likely seen as useless by societal standards and deserving of punishment. Through Paul’s ministry and the guiding hand of God, Onesimus experiences a profound transformation. Upon encountering the message of the Gospel and embracing Christ, Onesimus undergoes a radical change. His life, once characterized by rebellion and aimlessness, is now infused with purpose and meaning. The significance of his name becomes apparent as he transitions from being a runaway slave to a beloved brother in Christ. The irony is palpable: a man named “useful” who was once considered useless by societal standards is now living up to the fullness of his name through his newfound faith in Christ.

Paul’s letter to Philemon serves as a testament to this transformation. He appeals to Philemon to receive Onesimus not as a mere slave, but as a beloved brother in Christ. Paul recognizes the immense value Onesimus now holds within the community of believers, emphasizing his usefulness not only as a servant but also as a fellow laborer in the gospel.

This narrative highlights the transformative power of grace and redemption found in Christ. It challenges societal norms and prejudices, calling believers to view others through the lens of God’s love and mercy. Onesimus’ story reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace and that even the most unlikely individuals can be transformed into vessels of usefulness in His kingdom.

No longer just a runaway slave, he’s now a beloved brother in Christ. Paul writes to Philemon, Onesimus’ master, urging him to receive Onesimus not as a slave but as a brother.

Today, this story challenges us to consider our own lives. Are there areas where we feel enslaved, trapped by our past or present circumstances? Like Onesimus, we’re invited to bring our burdens to Jesus and experience His transforming power.

If you’re already a believer, ask yourself, “What’s enslaving me?” Is it a past hurt, a present habit, or a looming hang-up? Bring it to Jesus. Surrender it to Him. Like Onesimus, let your past be transformed into a powerful testimony of God’s grace and redemption.

And if you’re here listening and haven’t yet experienced the life-changing power of Jesus, know that He’s calling you today. He’s inviting you to come just as you are, brokenness and all, and let Him make you new. Your past doesn’t define you; Jesus does. He sees your worth, your potential, and He’s longing to welcome you into His family with open arms.

God’s perspective on us is radically different from how we often see ourselves or how the world labels us. Let’s explore the incredible names and identities God bestows upon us compared to the negative labels we often hear or adopt.

Chosen

World’s Label: Unwanted, Rejected

The world can be harsh, often making us feel unwanted or rejected. We might internalize these feelings, believing that we are not good enough or that we don’t belong. However, God tells us a different story.

God’s Name: Chosen

God calls us chosen. In 1 Peter 2:9, it says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Being chosen by God means that we are selected, valued, and loved. It’s a powerful reminder that we are wanted and have a significant place in God’s plan.

Adopted

World’s Label: Orphaned, Alone

Feelings of loneliness and abandonment are all too common in a world where relationships can be fragile and fleeting. People might feel like orphans, without a place where they truly belong.

God’s Name: Adopted

God has adopted us into His family. Ephesians 1:5 states, “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” This adoption means we are not alone; we are part of God’s family. We have a heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally and eternally.

Loved

World’s Label: Unlovable, Unworthy

Many struggle with feeling unlovable or unworthy of love due to past mistakes, rejection, or negative self-perception. The world can reinforce these lies, leading to deep feelings of inadequacy.

God’s Name: Loved

God’s love for us is profound and unchanging. In Romans 8:38-39, we are reminded, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are loved beyond measure, and nothing can change that truth.

Redeemed

World’s Label: Lost Cause, Irredeemable

Sometimes the mistakes and sins of our past make us feel like a lost cause, beyond the point of redemption. The world might write us off, deeming us irredeemable.

God’s Name: Redeemed

In Christ, we are redeemed. Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Redemption means that we are bought back, restored, and given a new start. Our past does not define us; Jesus’ sacrifice does.

Known

World’s Label: Invisible, Overlooked

In a busy world, it’s easy to feel invisible or overlooked, like our lives and contributions don’t matter. This can lead to feelings of insignificance.

God’s Name: Known

God knows us intimately. Psalm 139:1-4 beautifully expresses this: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” We are fully known and fully loved by God.

Precious

World’s Label: Worthless, Insignificant

Value in the world is often based on external factors like wealth, success, or appearance. When we don’t measure up to these standards, we might feel worthless or insignificant.

God’s Name: Precious

In Isaiah 43:4, God declares, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” To God, we are precious and honored. Our worth is inherent and given by God Himself, not based on the world’s fleeting standards.

Forgiven

World’s Label: Guilty, Condemned

Guilt and condemnation can weigh heavily on us, especially when we dwell on our mistakes and sins. The world can be quick to judge and slow to forgive, leaving us feeling permanently stained by our past.

God’s Name: Forgiven

Through Christ, we are forgiven. 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God’s forgiveness is complete, wiping away our sins and granting us a fresh start.

Empowered

World’s Label: Powerless, Weak

Life’s challenges can leave us feeling powerless and weak, overwhelmed by circumstances beyond our control. The world might see us as victims of our situations, with little hope for change.

God’s Name: Empowered

God empowers us through His Spirit. In Philippians 4:13, Paul declares, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” We are not powerless; we are empowered by God to overcome and thrive in any situation.

Victorious

World’s Label: Defeated, Failure

Failures and defeats are a part of life, but they don’t have to define us. The world might label us as failures, but God has a different name for us.

God’s Name: Victorious

In Christ, we are victorious. 1 Corinthians 15:57 proclaims, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are not defeated; we are victors through Jesus, overcoming sin, death, and every challenge we face.

Conclusion

The story of Onesimus in the book of Philemon is a powerful reminder of God’s transformative grace and the new identity we receive in Christ. Just as Onesimus went from being a runaway slave to a beloved brother, we too can experience a radical transformation when we embrace the names and identities God gives us. No matter what the world says or how we see ourselves, God’s truth stands firm: we are chosen, adopted, loved, redeemed, known, precious, forgiven, empowered, and victorious. Let’s live out these identities, allowing God’s names for us to shape our lives and guide our steps.

4o

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