Labels

I don’t know if you have ever noticed but there is something interesting that the angel Gabriel said to Mary (mother of Jesus) in his announcement that she would be Jesus’ mother. The statement was not actually about her but about one of her relatives.

In response  to Mary’s question about how it would be possible for her to bear a son seeing as she was still a virgin, in Luke 1:36-37, the angel responded, “Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman labelled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.” [CEB] (You can explore other versions and see how they articulate Luke 1:36-37).

What caught my attention in those verses was the word labelled. Elizabeth had been labelled barren. It was probably the word that most people used to describe her as it set her apart from many other women. She carried the identity ‘Elizabeth the barren one’ until God stepped in and gave her a new label.

God Himself did the impossible. In her old age, God made it possible for Elizabeth to conceive and give birth to John who would baptise Jesus Christ and be His forerunner. God changed her label from barren to mother of John the baptist. Later on in their lives, Jesus would say of John, “Among those born of women, none is greater than John.”

Most of us have lived with labels for a long time. Some labels we have acquired because of situations beyond our control (like Elizabeth) yet for some, we may have felt we deserved them because perhaps we made some bad choices and before we knew it we were being named after our mistakes. Some have been labelled a lot of things from dumb, to stupid, to lazy, fat, impotent, poor, disorganised and the list goes on and we have accepted those labels because in many cases, there has been a lot of truth in them.

One thing I was assured of after reading Luke 1:36-37 is that God is able to re-arrange and remove those nasty labels in our lives that have hung over us for so long. When we give ourselves to Him, He is able to transform our situations and give us new labels. He only is able to give us a new identity. From Barren to Mother of many children, Dumb to amazingly intelligent.

You know what nasty label you have carried. Perhaps you have even given yourself that label. Why don’t you take that label to God and give it up to Him so that He may give you a brand new name as He did for Elizabeth. Remember, with God nothing is impossible.

 

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