What's in a name?

Satan's names and Jesus' power

By Denise M. Kohlmeyer

Judgmental rooster is judgmental.

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I was fed up. Really fed up! You might even say that I was angry. At Satan, that is!

For too long I'd let Satan rob me of freedom from the record player (that so dates me!) of negative thoughts that kept spinning, spinning, spinning around in my mind. The turntable of erroneous reasoning wouldn't shut off; the needle was stuck in the groves of, "You're stupid," and "You're not as smart as the So-and-Sos," and "They're all so intelligent, and look at you, you flunked out of college."

And on and on and on.

Yes, it's true, I did flunk out of college, thanks to my over-reaching social life. My untimely dismissal from a Big Ten university had been humiliating, to say the least; and while I did eventually return to college to earn a bachelor's degree, the "stupid" thoughts haunted me for years afterwards, especially whenever I was around certain people, people who were super smart, that is.

It was my Achilles heel. I was so ensnared by these lies that it got the point that whenever certain intellectuals started throwing their smarts around, I would discreetly excuse myself from the room. The record had begun its slow, sadistic spinning again.

I lived in this defeat for years. Sadly, I had allowed myself to be held captive for far too long by Satan's lies and debilitating put-downs.

Then one year my church offered a Bible study on the popular sixth chapter of Ephesians: The armor of God. In the very first week, the author exposed Satan for who he really is, and that we are in a battle with him. The battles we fight — whether mental, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, or even physical — are not against living, breathing people, but "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12b). Our battles are against Satan and his own army of demonic minions.

I've always known this in my head — theologically — but my heart hadn't quite caught up, practically speaking. But one page in particular changed that: Page 21, "What's in a Name?" The author listed the names of Satan and gave a brief description of each. As I read them, I began to notice something: all of his names are negative. Each one denotes destruction, disabling, and despair — which is his ultimate aim towards God's dearly-loved children.

Interestingly, names in ancient times carried more meaning and weight than they tend to today. Twenty-first Century parents tend to choose trendy names, whatever's most popular at the time of their child's birth. But names back then held more significance. They were not only the identifier of a person (i.e. I'm John, or Mark, or Obadiah ☺ ), they also embodied that person's character, their nature, their worth, even their reputation. A name meant everything about that person.

This is true of Satan as well. His names aren't just his identifiers, they're also his character (antagonistic), his nature (evil), his worth (deficient), and his reputation (bad...very, very bad!).

His names are the very essence of who he is.

This revelation was chilling. But even more chilling — and, sadly, shocking — was that I had been living under the power of those names. No wonder I had felt defeated!

And I don't think I'm the only one either. So many people live in defeat, whether it's emotional defeat, mental defeat, physical defeat, intellectual defeat, even spiritual defeat. But defeat nonetheless. And not only do we continue to live in defeat, many feel powerless to change. But we can!

I know, because the disc of debilitating thoughts finally stopped spinning for me (although every once in a while it spins again; but not as much as it used to). As I was reading my nemesis' names on Page 21, God did an extraordinary thing. He began to whisper the more powerful, victorious names of Jesus into my mind and my heart. And in keeping with ancient tradition, Jesus' names also encompass the very essence of who He is! And, dear friends, they are the counter-identifiers and the counter-characteristics of Satan.

It was a profound breakthrough!

And that's when I got mad at Satan — and myself, to be honest. I'd been living under the power and authority of Satan's names rather than under and in the power and authority of Jesus' names.

Take a look and see for yourselves!

Adversary/Enemy (1 Peter 5:8) Helper/Friend (Psalm 54:4)
Devil ("slanderer") Vindicator (Isaiah 50:8)
Tempter (Matthew 4:3) Victorious One (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Deceiver (Revelation 12:9) Light (John 1:9)
Ruler of this World (John 12:31) Creator of this World (Genesis 1 and 2)
Prince of the Power of this Air (Ephesians 2:2) Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Accuser (Revelation 12:10) Advocate (1 John 2:1)
Father of Lies (John 8:44) Truth (John 14:6)
Destroyer (John 10:10) Savior (1 John 2:2)

Do you see it too? For every negative name of Satan, Jesus gloriously counters it with a positive, infinitely more powerful name; a name that, just like His character, denotes:

Loyalty — He is our Friend and forever loyal to His adopted siblings. He will always, always come to our aid as our Helper in times of trouble — unlike Satan, our enemy, who comes only to harm us (Romans 8:15).

Vindication — He is the One who stands at our ready defense, to visit vengeance upon Satan whenever he maliciously slanders us (Romans 12:19).

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Published on 9-12-16