Have you ever thought about how many labels you wear? I am not talking about clothing labels, but labels that are given to you by the world. All of us have been given labels by either our parents, the government, society, our employers or by some other means. Last year I had to fill out the form on behalf of our household for the 2010 Census. As I was filling it out I thought about just how much the world tries to define us by labeling us. Here are just a few that were included in the form: Age, Sex, Race, Relationship Status, (Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter, Cousin, Aunt, Uncle), Military, Civilian, Employed, Unemployed, Student, Owner, Renter…..just to name a few.
I began to think of other labels that are put on people, and here are just some that came to mind…
Black, White, Latino, Foreigner, Asian, European, American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Bi-racial, Multi-Racial, African-American, Bald, College Graduate, Uneducated, High School Graduate, High School Dropout, Widow, Rich, Poor, Middle Class, Lower Class, Upper Class, Old, Young, Single, Married, Organ Donor, Unwed Mother, Single Mother, Fatherless, Alcoholic, Minority, Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Christian, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Licensed, Redneck, Hippie, Gangster, Professional, Promiscuous, Overweight, Short, Tall, Prep, Jock, Goth, Punk, Thug, Supervisor, High-Risk, Senior Citizen, Employee, Laborer, Student, Mentor, Over the Hill, Teacher, Leader, Colonel, President, Manager, Secretary, Mother, Father, Orphan, Good, Bad, Enemy, Hyperactive, Normal, Not Normal, Disabled, Step-father, Step-mother, Niece, Step-child, Half-brother, Half-sister, Divorced, Pedophile, Victim, Infected, Failure, Citizen,Homeless, Patient, Prisoner,Felon, Drug Dealer, Prodigal, Drug addict, Latch Key Kid, Evangelical, Athlete, Multitasker, Self-Motivated, Smart, Stupid, Non-Hispanic, African, Menopausal, Senior Citizen, Toddler,Teenager, Adult, Nerd, Cool, Nephew, Grandmother, Grandfather, Engaged, Separated, Suspect, Veteran, Big-boned, Thin, Adulterer, Con-artist, Middle Eastern, Canadian, Consumer, Participant, Active Duty, Volunteer, Customer, Mentally Retarded, Autistic, Indian, Genius, Director, CEO, Assistant, Vice President, Business Owner, Groupie, Yuppie, Negro, Japanese, Samoan, Filipino, Junkie, Light-skinned, Dark-skinned, Red-boned, Scholar, Professor, Petite, Plus-sized, Average, Hawaiian, Mid-western, Southern, Country, Yankee, Racist, Bigot, Homophobic, Radical, Episcopalian, AME, Heterosexual, Homosexual, Bisexual, Criminal, Irish, Italian, Protestant, Religious, Non-religious, Geek, Presbyterian, Non-denominational, Charismatic, Retired, Dependent, Parent, Licensed Driver, Resident, Client, Smoker, Non-smoker, Diabetic, Cancer Survivor, Witness, Recovering Addict, Naturalist, Evolutionist, Scientologist, Existentialist, Urban, Lazy, Hick, Hillbilly, Over Achiever, Caucasian, Insured, Welfare Recipient, Illegal Immigrant, Executive, Pregnant, Sterile, Post-abortive, Unstable, Anglican, Unitarian, Californian, Advanced, Roman Catholic, Apostate, Pastor, Deacon, Usher, Alumni, Invert, Extrovert, Spouse, Chauvinist, Feminist, Rebel, Capitalist, Communist, Naturist, Tax Payer, Voter, Greek, Australian, Preteen, Friend, Graduate, Episcopalian, African Methodist Episcopal, Mexican, Spanish, Seventh Day Adventist, Pagan, Entrepreneur, Self Employed, Independent, Green, Anti-social, Undocumented, Old School, Sexy, Ugly, Opinionated, Reserved, Worldly, Biblical, Well-spoken, Jamaican, Brazilian, Blue-eyed, Brunette, Freckled-faced, Blind, Blond, Amputee, Rapist, Supporter, Oppressor, Critic, Baha’i, Occultist, Guru, Wesleyan, Jewish, Anti-Semitic, Theologian, Mexican, Ethnic, Juvenile Delinquent, Premenstrual, Bi-polar, Depressed, Protegee, Tenant, Roommate, Fraternity Brother, Sorority Sister, Lawyer, Defender, Judge, Apologetic, Irish, British, Statistic, Official, Bi-lingual, Tri-lingual, Neighbor, Sexually Active, At Risk Teen, Suicidal, Survivor, New-Ager, Liar, Free Spirited, Physically Fit, Japanese, Obese, Spiritual, Elite, Famous, Loser, Popular
Wow, that’s a lot isn’t it?!?! I am sure that all of us have been placed under one or more of those categories at some point in our lives. From the day we are born, we are labeled. People want to be able to identify us somehow; to put us in a category. While some of the labels are important, because they were God-given, such as male and female, others are not. As a matter of fact, it is my humble opinion that other labels can many times hold us back in life, and even more important, hinder our relationship with God.
For example….Say you were born to a family that associates themselves with a certain religious group and you have been told your entire life that is who you are since you were born into that family. You just accept that as being the “way it is” and begin to identify with that. You never venture out to find out if what you’ve been told about the religion is even true. You’ve accepted the label that was given to you.
Another example may be a young girl who becomes a teenage mother. Many times people assume (and will tell her) that she will be just another statistic. They also say that she will need to take advantage of the government welfare system. They tell her that she will most likely be a high school drop out, and will definitely not be able to go to college. People will typically assume (and tell her) that she will not be very successful in life. People will even go as far as to say that her children will most likely become teen parents as well (labeling her children before they are even born). If she believes what people tell her, she will most likely end up wearing those labels.
When Jesus clothed himself in human flesh and came to Earth, the world didn’t recognize Him. The Bible says in John 1:10 that Jesus was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. Why didn’t the world recognize Jesus for who He was? Why didn’t they see that He was the Messiah that was prophesied about in the Old Testament? I believe the reason they didn’t is because they had already made up in their minds what the Messiah was going to be like. They decided what He would look like, how He would act and what kind of clothes He would wear. They expected the Messiah to be from some famous, well-to-do family, dressed in royal clothes (royal according to their standards), and be extremely wealthy. Jesus was the total opposite of what they were expecting, but they had already labeled Him.
In John 1:46 a man named Nathaniel was told about Jesus being the Messiah and he responds by asking, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Today, this would be the equivalent of someone asking if anything good could come out of a poor, rough, drug infested part of town. They had already labeled Jesus based on where He was from; His home town.
Isn’t this exactly what the world does to us? They look at where we live, what clothes we wear, what kind of car we drive, where we work, how much money we make, what politician we vote for, whether or not we have children and what we look like to determine who we are. Then they put those labels on us and guess what? We believe them.
Romans 10:11-13 says this…For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
Isn’t that awesome!?!?! God is telling us here that there is no difference between people, whether they be Jew, Greek, White, Latino, American, Chinese if we are in Christ Jesus. The only label that matters in life is whether you are SAVED or NOT SAVED. Another name for being saved is being BORN AGAIN.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came to Earth to give us abundant life. The Bible tell us in John 3:3 that in order to have this abundant life, and to live a life free of labels we must be born again.
John 3:3 ~ Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The titles and the labels that the world gives us are of no eternal importance. We may think highly or poorly of ourselves based on the labels we’ve been given here on Earth, but God isn’t concerned one bit with those things. The only thing that He is concerned with is whether or not you accepted His Only Begotten Son as payment for your sin. The only thing that matters is whether you know Jesus Christ or not.
1 Samuel 16:17 ~ …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart
I like to think of Jesus as the ANTI-LABEL. He came to break all types of barriers between the religious and non-religious, the righteous and unrighteous, the Samaritan and the Jew…and most importantly the barrier between God and man. Jesus came to do away with the world’s labels and give us the one label that truly matters, the one that says “BORN AGAIN & SAVED BY CHRIST”.
Romans 6:10 ~ For the death that He died, He died to sin once for ALL; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
If you are interested in knowing Jesus Christ personally, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!