“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
–John 14:6 (NLT)
Are you what I call a label lookie-loo? In other words, do you peruse product labels? If so, you may find that some of them are more accurate than others. If you’re looking at medicine, the side effects–listed in minute print–may be worse than what you’re experiencing without taking it.
Now think with me about society in general, and you will probably agree with me that labels are everywhere. While it is true that labels are unavoidable, we tend to put unnecessary labels upon one another.
I am speaking of negative and unbiblical labels, which can be just as harmful as taking the wrong kind of medicine. I think Christians should be the most positive people in the world, but I’m not talking about a positivity that is empty or worked up in our own strength. I’m talking about biblically based positivism, which God wants to bestow upon those who will wear His label.
But having said all that, it is not just our labels which are the problem. Instead of being derived from God’s Word, those labels are based upon that which is external. The Bible says that God does not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart.
In order to see how our labels differ from those in God’s Word, take a look with me at this scenario. A person who has a relationship with God but has a pronounced limitation may be chided for being weak. On the other hand, the Bible clearly states that those of us who believe and trust in Him can do all things through Christ.
Many times, our attitudes may not be filtered through His Word, and they stand in the way of what God can, and wants to, accomplish through us. We may come across as condescending or defensive without meaning to, however, when we display this kind of attitude. We accentuate the negatives which God doesn’t endorse. Directly or indirectly, we tend to tell people what they can’t do, instead of what they can do.
To be fair, though, the above person may use their limitation as an excuse not to live up to their full potential in Christ. This person may think about what people have told them, intentionally or not, and let it squelch God’s Word in their lives. This, in turn, can stop them from enjoying the abundant life which Christ promises. The Bible says that we can be people of victory if we yield to Him, because His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It doesn’t say that God can only use an individual who meets certain standards. Instead, it says that God has become the standard by sending His son. Other labels that God wants to bless His children with are characteristics like joyful, peaceful, and hopeful.
We have seen how God’s labels are based on the heart, but there is still another difference between our labels and those with which God blesses us. Unlike the labels found on shelves, God’s labels are 100-percent accurate.
When I was a child, I was quite sick, and I had to take a lot of medicine. Sometimes I did feel better, but at other times the meds only made me feel worse. Then, a doctor who will always be my hero was able to help me out. I take fewer medications now, and I am feeling much better because of that.
So unlike our labels, there is no guess work on God’s part. There have been a myriad of biblical critics over the years, but the Bible has always been proven to be true. It has stood the test of time, and it has been internally proven as its prophecies have come true. Over 300 prophecies about Christ alone have been fulfilled to a T.
Then there is the external evidence, which has been found by many an archaeologist’s spade. One example of this is the city of Nineveh. For many years, critics jeered and taunted because this city had not been found. Then one day it was uncovered, and people had to back-pedal and acknowledge its existence.
Now, think about what that means in your life and mine. If God’s Word is 100 percent accurate, why put your trust in anyone or anything else? God wants to challenge all of us to a new level of dependence upon Him.
But, my friend, do you believe in what God says about you? Or are you taking your cues from the world around you? Instead of trusting in our fallen world, He invites you to look up, and step out in faith.
You may be going through an extremely tough time in your life, but I believe that God would ask all of us this question: Are we relying on man’s unpredictable fables, or God’s infallible labels?
I think if we are honest, we have all felt like giving up and throwing in the towel sometimes. But God never gives up on us, and I would encourage you not to quit either. I have gone through many dark times myself, but I can attest to the fact that God is faithful.
Jesus said that with faith you can move mountains, so stand back and let Him move the mountains in your life. This might not happen overnight, and it may not happen in the way you want, but it will happen if you put your total trust in Him.
While we have discussed problems with man’s labels, let’s discuss God’s solution. It is simply to digest God’s Word and what He says about us. When we internalize man’s opinions and guesses, rather than God’s facts, we do ourselves a great disservice.
So if you know Him today, you are already wearing His initial label, for the Bible says that you are sealed with His Spirit. Don’t paste this label on halfheartedly, though. Commit yourself to walk in the newness of life which God’s label brings.
Then, listen to what God says, and paste another label on top of the first one. It tells us that we are more than conquerers in Christ. So hold your head up high, and instead of letting that problem you face defeat you, let God’s Word complete you. Instead of looking at the clouds which surround you as you grow into His image day by day, look at His promises and blessings.
If you don’t know Him today, you are really missing out. Jesus invites you to come to Him today, and become an overcomer by wearing a new label. No matter what you are going through or what you’ve done, His arms are open to you, and you can find rest in His strength.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.