Wednesday, April 10th
Label: to put a word or name on something to describe or identify it
Isaiah 43:1 (NRSV)
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
Almost every survey or questionnaire we complete asks us to classify ourselves according to age, gender, race, citizenship, income level and years of education. There are so many labels available for grouping us into specific categories. My “identity” could be labeled in a number of ways: female, baby boomer, U.S. citizen, spouse, middle-aged, college graduate, and so on. These labels may be important to the survey data collectors, but anyone reading them wouldn’t really know who I am. These labels only place me into groups that could describe any number of people.
I like other labels better. Karen, wife, Mom, Grammy, sister, daughter, friend, volunteer coordinator, writer, walker, contemplative, Sunday school teacher, neighbor. These labels describe the roles I love to do, the way I like to live, the way I hope others see me and know me. Those who know me by these labels know me quite well. Names like these are more personal, and they differentiate me from the larger classifications.
The best labels are the ones God uses for us. Through Jesus we can know how completely God knows us, how completely God loves us. This passage from Isaiah tells us that God calls us by name and calls us God’s own. What other words does God use to describe and identify us? They are beautiful ones, intimate ones, that show us we are unique and precious to God. Here are a few.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. (1 John 3:1)
I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. (John 15:15)
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am the vine, you are the branches. (John 15:5)
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:10)
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. (Ephesians 5:8-9)
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
In all the names we have been called, there are none more special and sacred than the ones God chooses for us. They describe our purpose and our preciousness, but they also describe the goodness of God. God labels us to clarify who we are, but more than that, to reveal who God is!
Some verses were found at https://bible.org/article/who-does-god-say-i-am
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash