Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!
-II Corinthians 5:17-
This is my third year of being a part of Lifegate Women’s Tuesday mornings. I’ve really been enjoying it. I love the relationships that develop at the round tables. For Christmas a few years ago, I wanted to get the ladies at my table something. It had to be something I could do on a budget. I decided to give homemade sweet treats, but what would I put them in? I remembered all the glass jars I’ve been saving thinking someday they’d come in handy. Today was that day.
There was an assortment of jars that had been used for different things. All of them still had their labels but I wanted clear, clean glass jars. So I filled up my kitchen sink with water and put a few jars in to soak. After letting the jars sit overnight, I pulled them out one by one. I cleaned the inside and took off the label on the outside. Most of them came off pretty well, but there was always some sticky, leftover residue. That is when my task became a bit more tedious. I was expecting it, so I was up for the challenge. With warm water and just the right tools, I would scrape off every bit of glue that so desperately wanted to stay on. After the jar was free of residue I would give it one more cleaning inside and out then dry it off. Now the jar was ready to be filled with inviting mouthwatering goodies. As a final touch I dressed them up with a ribbon. After finding the perfect gift bag they were ready to be sent out as gifts.
This was my process with each of the jars. It took some time to get them all done. I didn’t rush it, though. I knew it would be worth doing a good job. As I stood by my kitchen sink scraping away the gunk from the label that stubbornly refused to let go, it dawned on me that I am just like one of these jars. Life slaps labels on me telling others what I’m made of. Some labels try to define me or give adjectives to describe me. There are colors and patterns on the labels to get the world to experience what they think I’m about. Yet, these labels (unlike jar labels) were not given to me by my Creator; my past, other people, or lies I’ve come to believe set them in place. Most of these “labels” are negative and not what the Lord sees in me. The Lord is going through the same process with me that I was going through with the jars.
He has selected me for a purpose. He sees the label on me but also knows what I will become. He takes me as I am and is pleased to have me soak in His presence. The label comes off fairly easy once I’ve been soaking in His presence. It’s there, in His presence, I begin to know who I truly am. Yet, there is that bit of label gunk that still clings to me. The Lord is not surprised and fully ready to complete the job He’s started in me. Firmly, yet lovingly, He scrapes away all of the residue that is trying to disqualify me from my purpose. Filling me with truth, the lies I’ve come to believe fall off. Before long, I am clean and ready to be filled with God’s goodness. He helps me discover the gifts and abilities He’s put in me.
In reality, this process often takes years and the Lord doesn’t wait until we are picture perfect before filling us. Praise God! He works through us even while He’s working on us.
Holy Spirit, please help me identify any labels I believe about myself that aren’t true. Reveal to me how they got there, and what You have to say about them. Lord, as I soak in Your presence, would you remove any gunk that is sticking to me? Replace those labels with Your label of love and grace. Amen.