Labels represent so much. I have always been a fan of high quality clothing. While I do not have the expertise to examine threads and stitches for workmanship and durability, I do have experience with certain brands. Brands that have endured the wear and tear of my life. Brands that have withstood the ebbs and whims of modern style. Brands that make me feel good about myself. Each of these brands is represented with a unique label. Ralph Lauren – Polo, Brooks Brothers, Johnston & Murphy, Armani, Hugo Boss, Banana Republic. When I see these labels, I am at peace with the product. The labels represent everything I have come to appreciate about my choice of style. Much the same, there are many labels that I avoid. Even though a first glance might catch my attention, some labels make it easy for me to walk away.
In much the same way, we all have labels that we have placed on our lives. I have personally marked my life with many labels which offer no sense of pride, joy or accomplishment whatsoever. In fact, there is a great deal of shame associated with my labels. The wonderful truth is, however, my labels are not an obstacle to God. You see, the Bible gives us many examples of the fact that God is able to look beyond the labels and into the man he has destined me to be. This does not mean that God simply overlooks the labels my sinful ways have written. That would be contrary to His holiness and justice. Instead, He paid a great price to afford Himself the right to rewrite my labels. God’s grace has provided me with labels I did not earn; labels like FORGIVEN, ACCEPTED, LOVED, FREE, ANOINTED, HEIR, RIGHTEOUS, REDEEMED.
Thank you Lord, for your everlasting grace. As I face temptations to see myself and others through the labels of the past, give me your eyes and truth. Allow this prayer, written by Andy Stanley to become an ever-present representation of my thoughts on how I see myself:
Heavenly Father, I believe that your grace is more powerful than my label. Forgiven. Accepted. Loved. Today I declare that what you say about me is true. I am forgiven. I am accepted. I am loved. Teach me to live my life in accordance with who you say I am. Amen.