Clothing, cars, bottles, bags, boxes, purses, shoes, and cans are just of the few places that you can find a label. There are designer labels and others are just generic names. Companies spend big bucks trying to market their labels so their brand stands out. When we see a particular label or logo, we instantly recognize the company that produces the product. Amazingly before children are even able to read, they know those golden arches means McDonalds is nearby. We don’t have to see the words Nike but that little swoosh sign easily makes the shoes recognizable.
Labels serve to describe something or identify an item, its contents or manufacturer. And we associate certain characteristics with a specific label thus defining its value or potential. However, labels also limit our expectancy. If a can is labeled as corn, we don’t expect to open it and find green beans. In life sometimes we acquire labels that attempt to define us and affect our perception of ourselves and others. Teachers might have labeled you has dumb. Maybe, your family called you the black sheep. Of course, not all labels are negative. Whether the label is smart, you’re just like your father, or you’re no good, those who have been labeled find themselves living out those labels at times. I remember reading about an experiment with a group of students. Divided into two groups, one group of students labeled as smart and the other as average. Surprisingly, each group’s academic performance was at the level they had been identified.
It reminds of the story of Jacob in the Bible. His own mother gave him a name that means trickster, deceiver or supplanter (to take the place of another through force, scheming/strategy) and he certainly fulfilled that role. Not only did he steal his brothers birthright but also his blessing. But the good news is that although labels sure have a way of sticking to us, they don’t have to be attached for a lifetime. Just like Jacob was given a new name (Israel) so do we when we accept Christ as Savior. No longer am I stuck living out labels or stuck in sin. For He gives me a new label of overcomer, chosen, righteous… just to name a few.
My mom being the recycler that she is often reuses jars and although she would remove the label, they hardly ever all came off at one time. Even after repeated washings, parts of the label would still be attached. As believers we are the same way, having lived much of our lives with certain labels, we don’t always find it easy to lift the labels of our past and walk in the freedom of our new labels. But as we continue to bathe our minds in His Words and declare what He says about us, those old labels will lose their stickiness.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. (CEV)
2 Corinthians 5: 16-17 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! (The Message)
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