Monday, May 09, 2005

Bless be the labels that divide: Is 44:5

"This one will say, 'I am the LORD'S'; and that one will call on the name of Jacob; and another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the LORD,' and will name Israel's name with honor." (Isaiah 44:5)
William Shakespeare wrote: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." American politicians also have a favorite saying, "if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck." What both are trying to say is, that it matters little what we call things, they are what they are. We have become a people who love labels. In politics we have conservatives, moderates, and liberals. In Christianity, we have orthodox, reformed, charismatic, and fundamental. We apply labels to ourselves, and to others, as a shorthand to describe who and what they are. While labels can have their value, you identify someone as a conservative and you have some sense of what they believe, they can also be divisive.

In this scripture, God says that His people will describe themselves if various ways, using different labels, but in the end, they are all His people. If we are all His people, then why do we search for labels to make us different? Why do we spend so much time trying to identify why we are different rather than focusing on how we are the same? The Apostle Paul put it this way,
"For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not mere men? So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God." (1 Corinthians 3:3-4, 21-23)
The point is, that we are all God's. It doesn't matter what we call ourselves, if we have believed upon Jesus, we are sons and daughters of God. The Gospel was meant to unite us together as one people before God. God's desire was to take people from different cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds and unite them into one Body of Christ. God never meant us to take the things of the Kingdom and use them to divide and separate us. Jesus desires us to be one, lets not disappoint Him!
"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one , just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (John 17:22-23)

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