Check the label!

Check the label? When I am sorting the washing out, I need to make sure I read what the label says. Otherwise we can end up with some dyed disasters!! There have been one or two over the years.

Now, doing the washing is not that exciting a topic! Well, I guess for may be someone out there it is but I cannot say it rates high in my life. I am happy to do it but it is just one of those things.

This said, doing the latest load, got me thinking about labels.

Check the label!

Firstly, how easy it can be to ‘label’ other people whom we do not understand or have a different point of view from us. Let’s seek to not do that to others, to not ‘demonise’ others wherever they are coming from. That does not mean we cannot disagree with others but let’s pray and think about how we can interact with grace as well as seeking to walk in truth ( “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17)

Again and again in the news we can read/hear of racist, xenophobic or other labelling that just divides and leads to more tension and torment. Let’s seek to be different – at all times!

We might say, “oh but I am not like that!” Why not pray and reflect, ask the Lord to show you if there is any prejudice or labelling of others in your life?

Check the label!

Also with labels, what about the “labels” on our own life? What do we believe about ourselves? Where have such beliefs come from? How does belief in God ‘speak into’ that labelling in our lives?

Check the label!

Lastly, if we say we are a ‘christian’ – what does that label mean for our lives? How do our colleagues, neighbours, fellow students, family members and others view that? For many on the planet, sadly the word ‘christian’ does not have positive connotations. This is especially true in some cases if you add  in a word like ‘evangelical’.

The word ‘christian’ was originally given as a nickname (check out Acts 11 in the New Testament). Christians: “belonging to the party of Christ”. It was a label given by others in the multi-cultural international buzz of 1st century Antioch. Those who were following Christ seem to have been noticed, as many people in that city came to know Christ (Acts 11:24)

These were ordinary people who by the grace that there is in Jesus Christ and with His help, sought to live like Christ among their fellow citizens. There is no need to glamourize them or make them out to be ‘super-saints’. Yet there is a sense that this was one label that fitted.

What about for us? It has become slightly in-vogue in some contexts to say, “I am not a Christian, I am a Christ follower!”. I can understand that, due to the baggage for some, that is associated with the word ‘christian’. Yet this said, whatever we say of ourselves – Christian, Christ follower, Jesus seeker…  what do our lives show?

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is a call for that newness to work through in every area of our lives as we follow Christ. This includes how to we live out such new life among others. Not from a point of view of arrogance or like we have ‘arrived’,but in the active knowledge of the love, grace and mercy of God.

This is all part of being ‘spiritually fit’, of living in wholeness (shalom).

Andy