Breaking the Labels that Define Us
Labels are everywhere. Clothes, food, cars…you name it. And if all the physical labels weren’t enough, we’re constantly creating mental labels to categorize the things we see and people we meet.
It’s human nature to start labeling people the instant we meet them…even if we don’t intend to. This practice is not limited to our opinions about others. Have you ever been asked to “list three words that describe you” during an interview?
It’s important to realize that interviews aren’t the only time we label ourselves. We also create secret labels that no one else knows about. Sometimes we arrive at these labels all by ourselves. At other times the label is formed when we put too much emphasis on a negative comment made by someone else. Good or bad, these labels constantly reinforce our personal opinions about who we are!
What are some of your secret labels? Do you think you’re not smart enough, too shy, or incapable of doing important things? Maybe you think you’re boring, unattractive, or incapable of changing.
Regardless of your real or imagined failures, you need to know what God says about you. He gives every one of us an important label when we come to him through Jesus: NEW!
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEV)
What God says about you is far more important than anyone else says. It’s even more important than what you say about yourself. His label can break patterns of failure. It can overcome fears. And, it can even move you past secret and public labels you’ve earned. Because Jesus died, you now live. You’re free of labels from your past and present!
One of the most amazing things God does when we accept Jesus is give us a new name of our very own. The Bible says…
And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth.
– Isaiah 62:2 (NLT)
God’s Word is full of examples. For instance…
When Abram and Sarai couldn’t conceive a child, God came along and changed their names. Abram became Abraham, which means “father of many nations.” Their new names showed who they were in God’s eyes. (And yes, they became parents of many nations, just as promised!)
Later on a man named Jacob came on the scene. His name meant deceiver. After an encounter with God, his name was changed to Israel which means “God will prevail.”
Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, and Saul’s name to Paul. He did this to show that when we receive new life in Christ, we also receive new names.
Since I began to follow Jesus I’ve experienced this ”newness” many times. He now calls me a son of God. I like that label! His new name for me continually reshapes the way I think. It gives me courage over fear. It guides me to success where I used to fail.
What labels are blocking your efforts to move forward in life? Have you been made new by asking Jesus to take up residence in your heart? That’s the first step.
If you have, then it’s time to start relying on the new life God put in you. You are not who you used to be. You are free…you are an overcomer…and you are new in Christ!