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08
Mar
2020

Drop The Labels

by Esther Allen Fleece

I wonder why so many of us are tempted to live as if we’re identified by our old labels. The word label hardly ever shows up in the Bible’s original languages, and when it does, it’s similar to the word called—he or she was “called” to something. And I think it’s easy for us to call others names or call ourselves names that don’t really apply.

Naming is more significant than labeling, perhaps because labeling only speaks to the titles others put on us, while naming speaks to our very core. Labels are about what’s on the outside. Naming goes so much deeper. Maybe our attention has been on labels because we’re not yet convinced that we’ve been completely reidentified by the One who has named us “Daughters” and “Sons.”

Before I fully understood the power inherent in the new name God had given me, I had lost sight of my identity, inheritance, and new name. This hadn’t happened in a way that caused me to live in blatant, unrepentant sin, but I did live in a way that showed I didn’t think I had much to bring to the table. I didn’t know my full value and worth. I had roots in God, but when storms came, I questioned who I was to Him and who God was to me. This even became a struggle as Joel and l planned our wedding, and l felt embarrassed that I didn’t have a biological family history I was proud of or any financial benefit to bring to our union.

Losing sight of our new name and settling for what we’ve always been is just another way the enemy tries to rob us of our joy and distract us from claiming our truest identity. This settling isn’t only for those who steal, drink too much, or covet; settling can also be living in a way that doesn’t align with who God says we are. When we as Christians don’t live out of our new name, we are usually agreeing with a false label that the enemy has assigned to us. How many of us walk around thinking we are “not being used by God” or “overlooked” or “not worthy” when God has said the opposite!

When we do not align with our new name and identity in Christ, we miss out on spiritual blessings we would receive as a son or daughter in Christ. Most days, l didn’t even know God had a new name for me! Not only was my failure to embrace my new name unintentionally separating me from the love of God, but it was keeping me at arm’s length from others as well. Whenever I slipped and gave voice to my old name—that of “orphan”—l was forgetting the names of the people God put around me as family. When I would agree with “fat” or “unattractive,” l was accepting the enemy’s lie. When we have old names and labels in our vocabulary, we are tempted to live out of them, which dramatically affects how we see ourselves, others, and God.

This is why it’s so important for you to realize that you’ve already been renamed by God and that this new reality transforms your identity. This isn’t a name for varsity-level Christians (there is no such thing). This new name is for all of us, and God wants us to move past our old labels to be identified by the new name He gives us.

 

Esther Fleece Allen appears this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from Your New Name Esther Fleece Allen. Copyright ©2020 by Esther Fleece Allen. Used by permission of Zondervan.