A Rose By Any Other Name

Who do you let define you?

Posted by David Wyatt on June 06, 2020 · 4 mins read
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV

Recently, Uber marketing executives asked their drivers to complete a survey. They were thinking about changing the name of their app for drivers from Uber Driver to Uber Pro. The whole intent behind the survey was to see if drivers would feel better about themselves if they were called a Pro.

Maybe you’re like me and think that many Uber drivers care more about what they’re getting paid than what they’re called. But I look around and see that probably isn’t the case. Most of us base our self-worth on what others think about us and call us: our parents, our friends, our bosses, the media, politicians, and people we don’t even know on Facebook and Twitter. And once one person or group defines us by labeling us, that’s what we become in everyone else’s eyes. We feel like we’re stuck with that, whether there’s any truth in the label or not.

Because labels have become the character-definers of our society, we also spend a lot of time labeling ourselves. Sometimes it’s a defense mechanism. We do it to counteract the negativity that comes with the labels often given to us by others.

One of Al Franken’s more memorable recurring characters on Saturday Night Live was Stuart Smalley. In the skits, Smalley had a self-help show called “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley”. He closed each segment of his fictional show by looking into a mirror and saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me!” We all occasionally need a little self-affirmation.

Everywhere you turn, someone is trying to define you with a label. They do it to control and deceive you. They do it to discount your opinion. They also do it to boost their self-esteem. By labeling you something less, they can pretend they’re something more. And the leader of that pact? Satan, the father of lies. His only purpose is to drive an eternal wedge between you and a God who loves you.

So who should we trust when it comes to defining who we are? How about the One who created us in His image? You’re special because God says so. You’re worthy of love because God says so. Even if you don’t believe in God, or you hate God, he still loves you. How do we know? He tells us.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8

And if you’ve come to a repentant knowledge of Jesus, God calls you his, “chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Chosen and different from the unsaved only because we’ve accepted a freely offered salvation by grace. That difference carries with it a burden. The burden to reflect Christ by embracing and exhibiting the attributes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

When the world labels you as nothing, don’t believe it. When you look into the mirror and see yourself as nothing, don’t believe it. You’re special. God loved you before you were even born. He still loves you. He created you with a purpose that only you can fulfill.

Believe that Christ left His throne in Heaven, was born of a virgin to live among us, died on a cross to pay the price for our sins, then rose from the grave, a victor over death. Then, when you feel you’re nothing, you can say, “Though I was an enemy of God, now, by grace, I’m a child of the King with riches beyond what anyone can imagine waiting for me in Heaven.” That’s not self-affirmation. That’s God-affirmation. And that’s a label no one can take away.

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