I Want To Be Labeled. Do you?

November 1, 2012 — Leave a comment

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I have a confession. When I was a little boy, I ripped off a label on a mattress that didn’t belong to me. It read, “Under the penalty of the law this tag is not to be removed except by the consumer.” It felt dangerous and in some strange way I loved it.

As a Christ follower, I often try my best to rip labels off people because we are constantly told not to label people. I’m not sure who came up with that rule. I’m not even sure if it is right or wrong. I guess at times it could be either.

We use labels to define those around us. I label people, and you label people. It’s just a fact. However, I’m not writing today in order to defend if it’s right or wrong. I’m writing today to encourage you to wear a label of the future that will set you apart in a good way.

We are told in Galatians 4:7, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”

In other words, God has labeled you and me as His very own and calls us heirs. We are heirs of a future kingdom that can be lived out in the now, while we wait for its fullest at the second coming of Christ.

If the world is going to label us, we might as well give them something Godly to talk about and label us by.  We are God’s image-bearing children. Our entire lives proclaim redemption to a world that is broken and fallen. We are people that carry a label of hope, healing, mercy, grace and the love of God…all manifested by actions.

Matthew 25: 35-36 says, “ For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

I want you to notice that these acts of God are to be done by Him through us, and they can only be done in the now. One day, at the second coming, there will be no more sin, and no more injustice. Until that day overtakes us, we should be found taking as much pain away as possible. That my dear friend is a label I gladly wear, and so should you.

When we feed someone that is hungry in the now, we are showing him or her that one day they will never hunger again, if they place their trust in Christ. When we give water, we are saying you will one day never thirst again. When we entertain a stranger, we are pointing to a day no one will be a stranger. When we clothe the naked, we are saying to the world, you will one day have all that you need. When we take care of the sick and visit those in prison, we proclaim future wholeness and freedom in Christ.

I end today with a quote from N.T. Wright

“Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion…”

What are you thoughts? Share with others by leaving a comment.

Steve Wright

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Lead Pastor of Legacy Church and Author of The Descent to Compassion

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