What’s in a Name
by Craig Groeschel
When God helps you overcome a destructive label, he’ll often do what he did through Peter. He will take one of your greatest weaknesses and turn it into one of your greatest strengths. It has been said that our weakness is our genius — our greatest struggle often yields the greatest opportunity for our growth. That’s exactly what God did through me. My Lord transformed my heart and gave me a new name that carried a new purpose.
The closer I became to God, the more I believed God was calling me to a life of radical generosity. Over time, God changed my heart from that of a tightwad to that of one who lives to give. Though it started slowly, I grew into God’s calling. Without question, I now know that one of my greatest purposes is to live well beneath my means and to give sacrificially to make a difference around the world.
This passion has overflowed into our church. Rather than selling products that our church produces, we strive to give away as much as we possibly can. It’s hard for me to imagine, but more than one hundred thousand pastors and leaders downloaded from our church’s website more than three million videos, messages, transcripts, and artwork pieces last year. We’ve been honored to give away YouVersion Bible apps by the millions every month. Our church is blessed to partner with hundreds of other churches who show my weekend teachings every week to their churches, all free of charge.
God took my greatest weakness and turned it into one of my favorite strengths.
I may be a penny-pincher, but Amy and I are blessed to give away as much of our income as possible. Forgive me if this sounds boastful — that’s not my intent — but we’ve been privileged to give away my book royalties, honorariums, and speaking income to bless ministries around the world. God took my greatest weakness (selfishness) and turned it into one of my favorite strengths (generosity). Craig the Tightwad is no more. God calls me Craig the Generous, and I’m still growing into my new name and purpose.
I pray you experience God’s grace as he removes a cruel label that you’ve owned. Perhaps you’ve gone through life struggling with a certain addiction. You’ve tried to kick it but always seemed to fail. Those around you know you as the Addict. But God will turn your weakness to strength. As the Overcomer, your new name, you will live for a higher purpose.
As God helps you defeat what once held you, you can do the same for others. Maybe you’ve been overweight most of your life and you’ve been labeled Fat. God can change your name to Fit. As you learn to eat right, exercise regularly, and tone your body, you can help others find the same freedom you’ve found.
Perhaps you’re not good with money. You’ve lived with the name Broke or Struggling. Do not accept this as who you are! Have hope in God. You might start by studying Dave Ramsey’s teachings (I know a guy with Dave’s face tattooed on his arm) and over time, become financially free. Then God can use you to help others find the same freedom you know.
With your new name, God will always give you a new purpose.
Excerpt taken from Altar Ego, Craig Groeschel, Harper Collins Christian Publishing © 2013.