Holy Spirit | Identity | Image | Jesus | Mindset

What’s in a name?

By Denise Kohlmeyer

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 him 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 them,“ 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, due more to my over-reaching social life than to studying. My untimely dismissal from Indiana 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. This was my Achilles heel. And Satan knew it! I was so ensnared by this that it even got the point that whenever 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 allowed myself to be held captive for far too long by Satan’s lies and debilitating put-downs.

Then one year our church offered Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study “Armor of God.” In the first week, she exposed Satan for who he really is, telling us that we really are in a battle, and that the battle isn’t against living, breathing people, “flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). The battle is “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (12b). Our battles—whether mental, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, sometimes even physical—are against Satan and his own army of demonic minions.

I knew all of this in my head, but my heart somehow hadn’t quite caught up. But then one particular page in the study changed my thinking altogether: page 21, “What’s in a Name?” Priscilla listed the names of Satan and gave a brief description of each. As I read them, I noticed something interesting: all of his names are negative. Each one denotes something akin to destruction, disabling, and despair—which is his ultimate aim towards God’s dearly-loved daughters.

Interestingly, names in ancient times carried more meaning and weight than they tend to today. We tend to choose trendy names, particularly whatever’s most popular at the time of our 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  ), but names 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 what was even more chilling—and sadly shocking—was that I had been living under the power of those names. No wonder I felt defeated!

And I don’t think I’m the only one either. So many women like myself live in defeat, whether it’s emotional defeat, mental defeat, physical defeat, intellectual defeat, even spiritual defeat. But defeat nonetheless. And the problem is, many us feel powerless to change. But we can!

I know, because the disc of debilitating thoughts stopped spinning for me. As I was reading my nemisis’ names on page 21, God did an extraordinary thing, He began to whisper the more powerful, victorious names of Jesus into my heart. And in keeping with ancient tradition, Jesus’ names also encompass the very essence of who He is! And, sweet sisters, they are the counter-identifiers and the counter-characteristics of Satan. It was revolutionary.

And that’s when I got really 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!

Satan:                                                                      Jesus:

Adversary/Enemy (1 Peter 5:8)                                 Helper/Friend (Psalm 54:4)

Devil (“slanderer”)                                                    Vindicator (Isaiah 50:8)

Tempter (Matthew 4:3)                                            Victorious One (1 Cor. 15:57)

Deceiver (Rev. 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 (Eph. 2:2)               Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)

Accuser (Rev. 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? 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:

Allegiance – He is our Friend and is forever loyal to us—His adopted siblings. He will always, always come to our aid as our Helper in times of trouble—unlike Satan, our enemy, who seeks 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)

Victory – He Himself was victorious over Satan’s attack in the wilderness and He shows us by way of example how to overcome the tempter with the Word  (Matthew 4:1-11)

Power and Authority – He is the Sovereign Creator of this visible world in which we live (though Satan has control of it for a time) and the invisible world which we cannot see (Genesis 1)

Peace – He alone restores peace between us and God through salvation, and peace between each other through reconciliation (Isaiah 9:6, Romans 10:13)

Advocacy – He pleads our sinful cases before the Father, who graciously forgives the repentant ones (Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1)

Truth – He only speaks truth, with love and grace, into our wounded, sin-sick hearts—whereas Satan only speaks lies and deceit (John 14:6)

Salvation – He alone saves us from our sins, while Satan only seeks to keep us trapped in our sins and thus destined for eternal damnation (John 10:10)

We women often live in defeat and discouragement because we don’t utilize the power that is so readily available to us through prayer, prayers that are prayed “in His name.” By knowing and believing in the power, authority and character behind Jesus’ names, we are more than amply armed to go into battle against our enemy; for in Jesus’ name, we have the most devastating spiritual war-time weapon available to us. “Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do,” Jesus said in John 14:13. Why? “That the Father may be glorified in the Son.” He wants us to live victoriously—not in defeat—and He knows that the victory lies in the power of His name. Not in Satan’s!

Think of it this way:

Living under the power of Satan’s names = defeat, discouragement, and despair.


Living under the power of Jesus’ names = salvation, abundant life, joy, peace, and victory!

Asking for help “in Jesus’ name,” help to overcome “the flaming arrows” of Satan’s schemes of lies, deceit, despair and disablement, is a prayer which God will always answer—because defeating Satan brings Jesus the greatest glory, and God the Father likes nothing better than seeing His Son highly honored and exalted!

So practically and biblically what do we ask for “in His name” with regards to defeating Satan? We ask for:

His Strength  – So that we can “stand firm” during the vicious onslaughts of our adversary (Ephesians 6:10)

His Truth – So that we can combat the deceit and lies Satan speaks to us (Ephesians 6:17)

His Supernatural Power & Authority – So that we can overcome the evil one, for greater is He—and His name—who is in us than he who is this world (1 John 4:4; John 14:13)

His Grace, Comfort & Peace – So that we are sustained through our times of discouragement and despair, when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable to Satan’s attacks (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

His Deliverance – For when we have succumbed to the temptations of the tempter (Matthew 6:13; 1 Corinthians 10:13)

So, what’s in a name? In Jesus’ name, EVERYTHING: immeasurable and infinite power, power to deflect and defeat the flaming arrows of the evil one, power to live eternally and victoriously.

And it’s all just a prayer away!

By Denise M. Kohlmeyer

Denise is a former newspaper journalist and co-author of two books in the Clues for the Clueless series. She currently freelances and has been published in Christianity Today, Today’s Christian Living, Christian Devotions, and is currently a back-up author for Disciplines (the award-winning devotional published by The Upper Room). She is also a regular contributor to the award-winning blog, Blogos.org. You can follow her there and find her on Facebook.