“We are what we believe we are.”  C.S. Lewis

Our family has been on an extended trip across the West.  One of the first impressions we make on people we encounter is the “uniqueness” of our accents.  We are immediately labeled as Southerners…and all the preconceived notions that come with it!

Have you ever felt labeled?  Sometimes we just can’t outrun our past.  Perhaps we’ve made distinct impressions on others because of something that we said or did when we were younger.  Maybe it was a mistake we made- unfortunately- in front of a large group of people.  Labels can be hurtful and damaging.

Jesus was labeled.

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary?  And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And are not all his sisters with us?  Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.  But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” Matthew 13: 53-57

Despite hearing His teachings and seeing the miracles, many Nazarenes could not fathom the greatness of Jesus.  They had known Him from his youth.  How could this ordinary man be the key to salvation and eternal life?

Of course- this scene from Matthew and many others captured in scripture did not define Jesus.  He was labeled all of His life.  Ordinary.  A fraud.  Common.

But Jesus knew His purpose and mission and He fully embraced His calling.

How are you labeled?  How do labels limit your effectiveness in your walk with Jesus?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12: 1-2

I need to remember it’s not where I started- or even where I am.  It’s about where I want to be.  I want to be a Christ-follower.  That’s the label I want.

Please pray for me to lay aside all obstacles that keep me from pursuing the truth.  And let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.