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Lifting the Labels

The Watered Soul: Lifting the Labels

Apr 14, 2010

Lifting the Labels

Clothing, cars, bottles, bags, boxes, purses, shoes, and cans are just of the few places that you can find a label. There are designer labels and others are just generic names. Companies spend big bucks trying to market their labels so their brand stands out. When we see a particular label or logo, we instantly recognize the company that produces the product. Amazingly before children are even able to read, they know those golden arches means McDonalds is nearby. We don't have to see the words Nike but that little swoosh sign easily makes the shoes recognizable.

Labels serve to describe something or identify an item, its contents or manufacturer. And we associate certain characteristics with a specific label thus defining its value or potential. However, labels also limit our expectancy. If a can is labeled as corn, we don't expect to open it and find green beans. In life sometimes we acquire labels that attempt to define us and affect our perception of ourselves and others. Teachers might have labeled you has dumb. Maybe, your family called you the black sheep. Of course, not all labels are negative. Whether the label is smart, you’re just like your father, or you're no good, those who have been labeled find themselves living out those labels at times. I remember reading about an experiment with a group of students. Divided into two groups, one group of students labeled as smart and the other as average. Surprisingly, each group’s academic performance was at the level they had been identified.

It reminds of the story of Jacob in the Bible. His own mother gave him a name that means trickster, deceiver or supplanter (to take the place of another through force, scheming/strategy) and he certainly fulfilled that role. Not only did he steal his brothers birthright but also his blessing. But the good news is that although labels sure have a way of sticking to us, they don't have to be attached for a lifetime. Just like Jacob was given a new name (Israel) so do we when we accept Christ as Savior. No longer am I stuck living out labels or stuck in sin. For He gives me a new label of overcomer, chosen, righteous... just to name a few.

My mom being the recycler that she is often reuses jars and although she would remove the label, they hardly ever all came off at one time. Even after repeated washings, parts of the label would still be attached. As believers we are the same way, having lived much of our lives with certain labels, we don’t always find it easy to lift the labels of our past and walk in the freedom of our new labels. But as we continue to bathe our minds in His Words and declare what He says about us, those old labels will lose their stickiness.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. (CEV)

 2 Corinthians 5: 16-17 Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!  (The Message)

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At April 14, 2010 at 9:55 AM , Blogger Ellie said...

Wanda, Bravo, this is so well done!
Sad, but true! You brought so much to the table with the label. I loved it! I recycle and can relate to removing the labels. We as a society need to stop summing people up with labels. There are many facets to a personality and people's talents. Great post!

At April 14, 2010 at 10:08 AM , Blogger BLUEBUTTERFLY said...

Wanda, it is all so true and sad. Many opportunities are missed when we look at labels. We miss the chances to give and receive.

May we continue to do all to God's glory.

At April 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

My goodness what an interesting spin you put on labels and the effect that can have on our lives. I'm so glad that our Redeemer has the "Goo Gone" to remove those labels once and for all!

Great post!

At April 14, 2010 at 11:40 AM , Blogger Mike said...

Great post. I had this experience where God gave me a new name. I've never told anyone what it is. My challenge is, can they 'see' what my new name is through my life? Blessings :)

At April 14, 2010 at 12:18 PM , Blogger Beth said...

What a wonderful post! LOVE this! Sorry I seem to have missed you before. I keep thinking I have made it to all the A to Z blogs and then I find another that I had managed to miss. I'll blame it on my blonde roots! :) Anyway ... I'm following your blog now and look forward to hearing/reading more of your heart!

At April 14, 2010 at 2:39 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

WOW..great post! Very thought provoking.
Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

At April 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM , Blogger Raquel Byrnes said...

Awesome post. So true and hopeful to know that we are not what people say we are.

At April 14, 2010 at 3:41 PM , Anonymous Elizabeth West said...

True. I lived with a label growing up that made my life very hard. I'm still fighting it because family originated it, and is still perpetuating it in some ways.

How very difficult it is to shed those labels. We should try our best to avoid categorizing people as much as we can.

At April 14, 2010 at 4:31 PM , Blogger Gregg said...

Very good use of the idea of labels. Very imaginative and a good analogy.

At April 14, 2010 at 5:35 PM , Blogger Linda said...

I love your take on labels - especially about the part where sometimes the old labels don't always come off. I am so thankful God gives us a new label. I talked about labels today too though in a totally different vein.

At April 14, 2010 at 6:02 PM , Blogger Bud Ezekiel H. said...

loved your approach. encouraging too:)

At April 14, 2010 at 8:42 PM , Blogger Grammy said...

Hi, Putting the wrong "label" on someone can totally mess up their lives. You are correct in your take on labels. Thanks for a really thought provoking post.

At April 14, 2010 at 10:23 PM , Blogger Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I hate when someone label kids dumb, ugly, fat etc; all those negative things tend to stick and stay.
What a great blog. I love it!

At April 14, 2010 at 11:20 PM , Blogger Wanda said...

Thanks to each of you for sharing thoughts. Blessings to you.

At April 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM , Blogger Tori Cooper said...

Love it! I like how you talked about bathing our minds in His Words... when we fill our hearts and mind with the Word of God and start to belief it all those "labels" start to fade... great post topic!


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