“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Many of us have a storage closet, garage, or attic filled with boxes. We may even label the boxes with words like, “Fragile,” “Old Clothes,” or “Books.” Labeling allows us to easily identify the box we need. It’s a helpful organizational tool. We sometimes label canisters, shelves, office drawers, or other things. Labels are a tool we use to categorize the complexity of our environment.
Sometimes we use labels as a short cut to categorize people. Labeling boxes is helpful, but labeling people is dangerous.
We may categorize people by personality, by achievement, by race, by religion, by appearance. And, often, our labels are wrong, hurtful, and damaging.
We see the effects of labels in our own lives. What labels have been placed on us? Loser. Failure. Addict. If we hear these words about ourselves enough, we begin to internalize them. We begin to believe the labels. For example, we may start to accept that we are just an angry person. We think, “I can’t help it. I’ve always had a bad temper. I might as well get used to it.”
And sometimes the hardest labels to shake are the ones we give ourselves.
Friend, you are not your labels. If you have asked Jesus to forgive your sins and given your life to him, the labels placed on you by the world are no longer your identity. Your past does not predict your future. And your present is not your ultimate destination.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” When we are saved, our old, sinful self was crucified, along with all of those false labels the enemy tried to put on us. We are not defined by those false labels, but by Christ living in us.
We look to God’s word for true labels. God’s word says we are:
- Lavishly loved. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God…” (1 John 3:1)
- Highly valued. “For God bought you with a high price…” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
- Planned with purpose. “…Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The reality of God’s word completely supersedes the false labels we used to carry. When Christ is in our hearts, old labels no longer apply. It’s time to peel off those false labels and live out the truth of our identity in Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me. Thank you for the price you paid for me and the future you have planned for me. Lord, sometimes I lose sight of who I am in you and accept labels the enemy wants to place on me. Today, I reject those labels. I know that I am who your word says I am. My identity is in you. Help me live out the purpose you have for my life and not to be limited by false labels. In Jesus’s name, amen.
How have labels affected your life? Share in the Reply section below.