Proverbs 9Ten

Labels Are Limiting

Humans have a funny habit of categorising things. We love to identify people by putting them in boxes according to talents, personality types or appearance. With labels, we’re able to predict how people work and can map out a person’s life, like telling the future.

The Problem

However, labels mean you can only do things a certain way. Think of a food label and how concrete it is that in your peanut butter jar, there is strictly peanut butter (and perhaps other unmentionable additives). So when a person feels they’re defined by their sport or their job or their success, they’re emptied without it. Worldly things don’t last forever, and as eternal beings, we can’t let external factors define us.

Gideon’s Label

In a similar way, a label can be really personal. Take a look at Gideon’s encounter with God.

‘The Lord turned to him [Gideon] and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Judges 6:14-16

When God called Gideon, he responded with only labels. According to the world, there’s no way his weak-least status could save anyone. The amazing thing is how God promised to be with Gideon. In the name of the Lord, Gideon was able to attack the Midianites with only 300 men! Our weakness can’t be a label, because his power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Perfect Label: Jesus

The only label that matters is Jesus’ name. He’s like a one size fits all. His label is an everlasting one that cleanses us of our sin by his blood and offers forgiveness for all who believe in his holy name.

The reason Jesus is the perfect label is that he made us. Through him, all things were made (John 1:3), so it makes sense that only our Creator can label us. God labels us his children, which has endless possibilities and is rooted in a loving relationship with him.

When we wear the label of Jesus’ name, it puts everything into perspective. Our lives depend on him and everything we do has its purpose in him. We have a new identity in God with room for growth and change as opposed to the rigid demands of earthly labels.

If you have a label that might be in the way of Jesus, I encourage you to lay it down at the cross. Yes, Jesus died for you, but he rose again and is alive so that you may have life in his name (John 20:31). What you do and where you’re from doesn’t define who you are. So wear that label, display it for all to see. Let your life be defined by the name of Jesus!

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