The name Jabez means ‘pain and trouble’. Can you imagine walking into a room and hearing someone say, ‘Here comes trouble,’ or someone describing you as ‘a pain’? And what’s more, his mother labelled Jabez that way the day he was born because she ‘gave birth to him in pain.’ (1 Chronicles 4:9 NIV)
But Jabez refused to let that name define him. Instead of looking back at his past and listening to his critics, he turned to God and prayed: ‘“Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm, that it might not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.’ (1 Chronicles 4:10 NASB)
The label on the outside of a bottle tells you what’s on the inside. And when you let others label you, invariably they make your world too small. And once you accept the label they place on you, you start to believe that’s who you are and that you’ll never amount to anything more than that. No, only God can tell you who you are! So do what Jabez did—go directly to the source: God. He created you. He redeemed you. He calls you. He equips you. He empowers you. He rewards you.
So when people try to limit you by putting labels on you, God steps in and says, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.’ (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV) The truth is that God loves and accepts you, and His approval trumps everybody else’s disapproval!