Whatever I was, I no longer am, in Christ.
One by one, the youth of our church paraded before a troubled teenager and hung unwelcome signs around her neck as the congregation listened to the contemporary Christian song, "Beauty from Pain." Abuse, lust, alcohol, drugs, debt, suicide. These and other temptations furiously circled her until our youth leader—portraying Christ— stepped in and drove them away. He removed the signs one by one and replaced them with a single sign—saved. The troubled teen may have become all of what the signs portrayed, but she didn’t have to materialize into any of them. Even if she had been one of them at some point in her life, she wasn’t any longer since Christ had stepped in.
Labels are deadly: Sex offender, pervert, alcoholic, addict, mentally unstable, emotionally volatile, dishonest. These are all labels that can easily attach themselves to our reputation. Feelings and experiences of depression, fear, shame, low self-esteem, broken relationships, loneliness, rejection, confusion, and doubt can manufacture more labels than we care to wear.
My label, however, was birthed in the past through Jesus’ death on the cross. Many sacrifices had been made previously, but His was radically different. He was the sinless Son of God who provided a perfect sacrifice. He not only covered my sins, He actually became sin for me.
My label bears fruit in the present. I’m termed a saint and considered God’s friend, child, and a joint heir with Jesus. These labels give me motivation to live out in my actions and attitudes, the person God genuinely sees me as being. In the future, my label will be wholly realized. In heaven, I’ll be all I can’t possibly be here because of sin’s presence.
What label are you wearing? Let Jesus free you.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)