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Mistaken Identity



One peaceful morning, as I strolled with our two energetic dogs, I immersed myself in the serenity of the fresh air and lush greenery, aiming to connect with God. In a moment of quiet reflection, I prayed something like this, “Father, I ask for your guidance to help me not be an idiot and to avoid any actions that would bring shame to your name.”


This wasn’t the first time I had prayed that simple prayer, it’d become a staple of my petitions.


But the moment the words left my lips on this day, I was convicted and sensed God’s displeasure because my prayer was based on fear—worry that I believed my failure was inevitable. This incident led me to search the Bible for guidance on how to address this, and I settled on the powerful prayer of Jabez.


“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, NKJV).


Whether due to a complicated delivery or some other trauma, Jabez’s mother named her son Jabez, which means “He Will Cause Pain.” Every time he heard or said his name, it reinforced that he was a source of pain.


I felt a similar struggle I believed Jabez may have had. We both battled with a false or mistaken identity.


In verse 10, Jabez asks God to bless him, enlarge his territory, and keep him from evil so he will not cause pain. He doesn’t ask for these things for his glory but because he doesn’t want them to become his namesake. In the same way, I asked God to save me from not being an idiot and causing him shame because of my insecurities with failure.


Ironically, Jabez was a man who followed the law and was “more honorable than his brothers” (v9). God promised in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 that those who observed the Mosaic Law would have God’s blessings run them down and overtake them. They would be richly blessed in every way.


Jabez was already set up for a tsunami of blessings to come his way. But he appeared to believe he was cursed, and that may have been why he asked God to bless him abundantly.


I do the same thing.


I beg God for blessings, provision, healing, salvation, deliverance, wisdom, and understanding.

But I often forget “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4, NKJV).


The realization that Jesus’ sacrifice for me has already given me everything I’ll ever need—helps me recover from a mistaken identity.


I now know:


  • I walk in God’s provision (2 Peter 1:3-4)

  • I’m already healed (1 Peter 2:24)

  • I’m delivered (Galatians 5:1)

  • I’m more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)



Finding examples in the Bible that address the ways I see myself helped change my outlook.


When I pray, I experience a significant shift in my perspective. During this introspective moment, I carefully evaluate my self-image, seeking out any influences that may’ve contributed to my belief that I’m a failure.


I’m continuously dedicated to my growth in Christ. This involves my readiness to release any falsehoods, particularly those stemming from unscriptural religious traditions, and to shift my perspective to reflect God's image of me. Rather than holding onto a false sense of self, I choose to embrace the blessed identity that God has intended for me.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing to me the importance of being mindful of how I perceive myself. Please show me the areas where I believe falsehoods. Holy Spirit, guide me to the scriptures that address those areas so that I can renew my mind with your word. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Your turn: How do you perceive yourself? Have circumstances, people’s words, and the lies of the enemy led you to believe that you’re a failure? How can you overcome this? Are there any scriptures in the Bible that provide encouragement?


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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great view on the prayer of Jabez.


May 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great reminder of God's love and grace!


May 22
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Really great devotional

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