What is your label?
Are you Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, or Catholic?
Are you Christian Right or Christian Left or somewhere in between?
Are you Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent?
Are you Evangelical, Fundamental, or Charismatic?
Are you a homeschool mom, a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, or a work-from-home mom?
Are you an organic-eater or a junk-food-eater?
We use labels to classify people and things into easily understandable categories. We give ourselves labels to separate “us” from “them”. Sometimes, we take pride in our labels and derive our identity from them. It seems that labels have gotten out of hand. We meet people and immediately put them in a labeled box based so that we know how to handle them.
I’m sick of being labeled.
I’m tired of being put into boxes. I’m weary of seeing Christianity packaged neatly into different categories…as though we could package the Creator of the universe. I was not created to submit to the limitations of man-made labels! I do not want to be defined by a human set of traditions. The apostle Paul saw this happening in the first century church as they argued about which teacher they followed.
“…Some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your arguments, dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, ‘I am a follower of Paul.’ Others are saying, ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ’I follow Peter’ or ‘I follow only Christ.’ Can Christ be divided into pieces?” –I Corinthians 1:11-13a NLT
Did Jesus really want His church to be full of division?
Did He intend for us to be defined by labels? Did He suffer on the cross so that we could bicker over which label is most correct? Let’s look at what Jesus said in His final prayer before He was arrested and crucified:
“My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are—I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.”—John 17:21-23 NLT (emphasis added)
It sure doesn’t sound like Jesus intended for us to be divided!! He prayed for us to be ONE. Now read those verses again. HOW do we become one??
We only have unity when we all draw close to the Father.
God alone is the source of unity.
Yes, God made us all to be different. He obviously likes variety. However, we can unite on the truly important things that we learn through HIM. Let’s agree to disagree on the less-important topics in life.
No teacher, no experts, no denomination, no philosophy, no political party has a corner on truth.
Only one Person can claim that. His name is Jesus.
As we come to know Him through His Word, we become unified.
Through Him, we transcend human labels and become ONE.
Let our one label be “CHRIST-FOLLOWER”!!
Image used with permission.