by: Sarah West
I have a friend that has a fixation with peeling labels off of everything.
The first time I met her, I remember her absent-mindedly peeling off every label that was in her reach. She finally turned to me and said in a light-hearted tone, “If you haven’t noticed, I have this obsession with sticky labels.”
Ok, a little odd, I thought.
Over time, her sticky label peeling has become just another enduring attribute of my friend.
It’s another way to describe her.
It’s another way to label who she is.
Funny where you get your inspirations to write, but I want to use her sticky label peeling as a metaphor for our lives.
Too often, we use labels to define a person.
- Drug Addict
- Mentally unstable
The labels can go on and on.
But when do we peel them off?
Some of my family members are struggling addicts, so 12 Step Programs are nothing new to us. In fact, I have heard my brother repeat what he was told in rehab. “I am an alcoholic and will always be an alcoholic. I can only manage the symptoms of my addiction but will never be able to be free from it.”
He has accepted that label.
I do not.
I don’t believe that once a [blank] always a [blank].
You can fill in the [blank] that has enslaved you.
Here are a few things to remember when you feel the need to label yourself and even others.
1. In Christ, we are a new creation.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
I think this is where our labels hinder us. We attempt change by our own abilities and not through Christ.
Of course the labels don’t peel away. The best we can do is peel the label partially off but that sticky residue is left.
In Christ, you are set free! What once labeled you, no longer holds any power over you.
2. True change will not be because we did this or that right, but because Christ, through His grace and mercy, changes us.
Even the apostle Paul expresses his own struggles with doing “right.” In Romans 7, Paul exclaims that even when he wants to do right, he does evil. Paul discussed the war that was waging in his mind and body.
Paul could have easily succumbed to the label of “failure” but he knew that his hope was never in himself.
We don’t need yet another label to define us.
We need our Redeemer.
Through Christ, we are not only changed, we are restored.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2: 8-9
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