“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV
The Christian life is not about white knuckling it or barely hanging on so we can escape the fires of hell. The goal is not to make it into heaven by the skin of your teeth.
The Bible says that we are MORE than conquerors. We’re supposed to live a victorious life here on earth, because Jesus loves us. In order for us to do that we need to overcome. We need to conquer some issues in our life that can cause us to live defeated, instead victoriously.
Today’s post is about Conquering Labels. In our society, we face an intense labeling process. We attach labels to people, we foist identities onto people or people seek out identities for themselves. All desperately trying to figure out who we are.
Labeling can begin when we are children. So maybe early on in life you were labeled as lazy, stupid or irresponsible. Maybe as an adult you may have been labeled as an addict, a drunk, divorced or dishonest. You’ve been called a hot-head, a party girl or average. Your life has probably been limited by that label.
Often the Devil will use the labels that other people put on us to keep us from being who God made us to be. No matter what false label you carry today, it is designed to rob you of your true God-given identity. The identity that you have in Christ.
The phrase in Christ is used about 140 times in the Bible. In Christ is the most used phrase to describe a disciple, a believer or somebody in the family of God. The word “Christian” is only used twice in the Bible. Because you are in Christ, we begin to see your true identity.
In 1 Peter 2, we see five labels of our true identities.
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV
God’s View of Me: In Christ…
1. I am completely accepted
We have all been rejected. Some of the deepest wounds in our lives come from rejection. Often we try to solve the wound of rejection by finding acceptance from other people. That pursuit of acceptance starts to influence every part of our lives.
You don’t have to chase after acceptance from other people because God gives it to you.
“You have been chosen by God Himself!” 1 Peter 2:9 LB
That is the truth about your identity, whether you feel it or not, in Christ is the truth about you. That’s your label.
How do I know I am chosen by God?
- Because God chose me before everything
“He chose us in Him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight by His love.” Ephesians 1:4 NIV
Before God spread the galaxies across this universe, He chose you. Before God made the earth and all that’s in it, He chose you. He didn’t wait till you showed up to see if you were acceptable. That’s how deep God’s acceptance is of you.
- Because Jesus has made me acceptable
“Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and He gave us the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7 CEV
If you’re trying to get acceptance from God, by trying harder to earn it, you’re wasting your effort. Christ made us acceptable. When you try to perform your way into acceptance, you’re working to receive something that has already been given to you.
God’s acceptance is not based on our performance, it is a gift. That’s where your identity in Christ starts.
2. I am extremely valuable
Even more than acceptance, we want to be valued. God says, “I don’t just accept you; I value you.” You’re not just completely acceptable, you’re extremely valuable.
“You are a holy nation and a people belonging to God!” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Anything that is holy is considered extremely valuable. God says, you are holy.
What is it that makes something valuable?
The first thing that makes something valuable is, who owns it. Things owned by famous people are more valuable than things owned by unfamous people. If you put your car up for sale on Craigslist and right next to it was Lady Gaga’s car, people would pay more for Lady Gaga’s car than your car simply because of who owned it. Ownership adds value.
Who do you belong to? If you belong to God, you are extremely valuable. I’m owned by the King of Kings.
“You are a people holy to the Lord your God His treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 7:6 NIV
When God looks at you He sees His treasured possession. Nobody values you more than God.
Why am I extremely valuable?
- Because God is my Father
If you place your trust in Christ, you become a child of God. Everybody’s created by God but not everybody’s a child of God. Everybody’s created by God, everybody’s loved by God, but you’ve got to choose to be in God’s family.
One day in heaven, God is going to share all of His glory with His children. God is going to share everything He has with His children. And right now, here on earth, God as my Father is going to take care of all your needs.
“Look at the birds…God feeds them and you are far more valuable to Him than any birds!” Luke 12:24
- Because Jesus gave His life for me
“You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to Him…” 1 Corinthians 7:23 LB
Another thing that determines something’s value is, what someone is willing to pay for it?
How much are you worth? Do you want to know how much you’re worth? Look at the cross. Jesus paid for you with His life’s blood. Because in Christ, you are extremely valuable to God.
3. I am eternally loved
“Once you were not a people but now you are the people of God.” 1 Peter 2:10 NIV
As humans we’re often ashamed of people in our families. Those weird uncles or aunts or brothers or sisters or parents. We’re often ashamed of relatives, but God is not ashamed of His family.
“Jesus and the ones He makes holy have the same Father. And that is why Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11
“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3 NLT
There are two characteristics of God’s love you need to remember: God’s love is unconditional and God’s love is unending and consistent. God’s love is not based on you, it’s based on Him.
Why am I eternally loved?
- Because God is love
Love exists because the Creator of the universe is love. If God were not a loving God, there would be no love in the universe. It all comes from our Creator. You may be unfaithful to Him, but He’s not going to be unfaithful to you.
“God’s love is eternal and His faithfulness lasts forever.” Psalm 100:5 TEV
4. I am totally forgiven
“At one time you did not know God’s mercy, but now you have received His mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10 TEV
God’s mercy has given us God’s forgiveness and it is complete. God knows everything, so His forgiveness has to be complete. He can’t partially forgive. He totally forgives. We have a hard time getting this because we don’t forgive like this.
When we start to get a hold of this, we start to understand our true identity. Often, we get confused about this. That’s why we have feelings of false guilt. We think God is punishing us for our sin, but that is not what God is like. God lovingly disciplines His children to direct us in the right way, but He does not punish us for our sin.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 NIV
God doesn’t carry a grudge toward us. God doesn’t rehearse your sins over and over in His mind. God releases it and He forgives it.
How do I know I’m totally forgiven?
- Because it is in God’s nature to forgive
“I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you.” Isaiah 43:25 TEV
Notice this verse is in the Old Testament. There’s this idea that the God of the Old Testament is unforgiving. Then in the New Testament He became more forgiving, but He’s always been a forgiving God.
- Because Jesus paid for my sins
It keeps going back to what Christ did on the cross, because that is where you begin to see your identity.
“For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God!” Ephesians 1:7 TEV
I’m forgiven not based on my performance or what I’ve done. I’m forgiven based on the great grace of God. I’m forgiven, in Christ.
5. I am fully capable
“You are royal priests…chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NCV
If you are in Christ, you’re a child of God. You are also a priest.
What does a priest do? A priest represents man to God and represents God to man. God says you are capable of doing that. This is why you don’t have to go to a priest to confess, because you are one.
The Bible says you are fully capable of representing God to other people and that’s part of your identity in Christ.
“You are to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to the light, from the power of Satan to God, so that through their faith in Me they will have their sins forgiven and also, like you, receive their place among God’s chosen people.” Acts 26:18
Part of your identity is your job as a priest. You are a priest where you work, at school, when you eat out… You represent God to everyone around you.
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by life. God says you are fully capable to handle anything that comes at you in life. You are fully capable to share the Good News with other people. Not on your own, but with the power of God.
“The capacity that we have comes from God; it is He who made us capable of serving the new covenant…” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 TEV
God has a mission for your life that He wants you to fulfill. He has made you capable of serving. Most people don’t feel competent to do things that God wants them to do. Most likely, all the people around you who you think have it all together, don’t. Because we’re all broken, we’ve all sinned. We don’t feel capable, confident or able to take on life, because we believe the wrong labels.
Why am I capable?
- Because Christ lives in me
“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NIV
Whatever the world throws at me, I am fully competent and capable to handle it, because I’m in Christ.
How do you stop believing false labels and get back to your true identity?
- Start believing what God has said about you.
- Start believing the truth and stop believing the lies.
- Take the Word of God and fill your mind with it.
- Unleash the power of God’s Word in your life.
- Affirm what God says about you.
Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on Why The Church? What step could you take to get more deeply connected with the Body of Christ?
Hear the Word
Read: 1 Peter 2:9-10.
Scripture tells us who we are in Christ. Too often, that identity is lost, crushed, or stolen by an enemy whose goal is to destroy us. But because of Christ, God sees us as: 1) completely accepted; 2) extremely valuable; 3) eternally loved; 4) totally forgiven; and 5) fully capable.
1. Scripture labels us as unique individuals with a specific identity. According to Ephesians 1:4, what truth should be fully realized in order to find identity in Christ?
“He chose us in him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight by his love.” Ephesians 1:4 NIV
2. Jesus made a profound sacrifice on the cross to make us acceptable to God. How have you responded to that sacrifice? What struggles do you have to realize your acceptance in Christ?
“Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and gave us the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7 CEV
3. How can you let this deep sense of your worth permeate every part of your life?
“God says, ‘You are extremely precious to me.’” Isaiah 43:4 NIV
4. When we struggle with sin, we often feel that God is out to get us. But in reality our guilt is taking over! How do we experience God’s forgiveness and let go of our guilt?
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT
5. Why do many of us have a tough time experiencing forgiveness? How would you explain forgiveness to someone who didn’t understand what it means?
6. The secret to reversing the curse of a false label is to start believing what God says about us. What do you need to start believing about who you are in Christ?
Tell Someone Else
Who do you need to share this message with? Who do you need to invite to church? Who does the group need to pray for?