A label is a short word or phrase that is descriptive of a person or group. A label can be positive or negative. You may be given a label based on how you dress, look or behave. Labels can follow you or even haunt you if you let them and can be the result of that one thing that you messed up on. The longer you carry a label, the less it describes your past and the more it shapes your future. Labels need to be left in the past and never look to a label for your value. Your value comes from Jesus who sees you as a masterpiece and child of God. Pastor Michael told the story of the “paralyzed man” and how his four friends did whatever it took to bring him to Jesus. It was because of their faith that Jesus healed him. The faith of those around you does matter and can bring you closer to Jesus or pull you further away. Jesus is the breaker of labels. He loves and accepts you no matter what. You are holy in His eyes. Sometimes you can’t escape a label, but know that you are not what culture has labeled you. You are a son or daughter of God and you are loved.
Why is it so hard to care? There are situations in life where you know that you should be concerned about someone or should help them out, but you just feel indifferent. There is so much information bombarding you everyday which can be overwhelming. It is hard to feel compassion for people that are experiencing things that don’t directly affect your life, especially when your life is going smooth. You can’t feel sad for everyone so you begin to develop a hard heart. Jesus wants you to love your neighbor and in order to do that you have to have compassion and a soft heart. He wants you to reach out and identify with people and show them you care. You can’t love without caring. At times you may feel helpless to make a difference so you do nothing at all. If you focus on doing for one what you wish you could do for all, a difference can be made in that persons life. Embrace your opportunities. Don’t look away when you see someone in need. Do what you can at that time and try to make a difference. That is what compassion is. God has equipped you with things that tug at your heart. Things that move you. It could be children, veterans, domestic violence or the homeless. Consistently expose yourself to things that create compassion in your life. Act on what God has called you to do and show that you care.
Christ is doing new things in our lives everyday. He has given us the strength and power to say no and overcome what life throws at us. We are all called to run our own race with passion and perseverance, not with fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind. At some point in life, most of us have battled fear. The fear of loss, failure or rejection. What is fear anyway? It is putting your faith in the “what ifs” of life rather than in God. Our fears in life do not come from God. When God calls us to go in a certain direction, we have to choose to trust in Him or to play the what if game. Those what ifs in life have importance as they reveal what we value. Our greatest fears reveal our greatest values, but they also reveal where we do not trust God. In order to defeat those fears, we have to define them. There are situations in life that will be scary, nerve wracking and sometimes impossible to understand. We can choose to trust God or we can let our fear consume us. God does not want us to go through life in fear which is why He has given us the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. It is time to acknowledge our fears and then give those fears to God. The more we do that, the more real it will become and the more we will grow in our faith. Trust is God and run your race free from fear.
Your walk with Christ will transform you. The new and improved version of you will be more like Jesus as His love will give you the power and strength to overcome life challenges. You know that Jesus will be with you every step of the way. One thing that God didn’t have in mind when He created you was comparison. When you compare yourself to others it does not honor or glorify God. Where comparison begins, contentment ends. All of a sudden you feel inferior. You want to be wealthier, thinner, or prettier when you compare your life to the highlights of someone else’s life. Your walk in life is unique to you. It will never be the same as another persons which makes comparing pointless. When you worry about the people around you then focus is taken off the one in front of you, which is Jesus. You need to be sold out for Jesus no matter what other people are doing. Ask yourself, who or what is going to define my significance? If you are placing that task on someone other than Jesus, then you are running a race that you will never win. You can only win the race that is marked out for you by Jesus. If you find yourself not feeling joy for others when they succeed, you may be running a race that is not your own. Find your significance through Jesus and follow Him. No one can beat you at being you. Ask Jesus who He is calling you to be and run that race.
To be rooted in Christ means that you are a disciple. You live your life looking to Jesus for inspiration, direction and truth. When you don’t know what to do or which road to take, you ask yourself what Jesus would do in that situation. When you have faith, you follow the path of Jesus even when you don’t fully understand it. You love people where they are at, but you believe the Bible is correct and know the only way to the Father is through the Son. Being rooted in Christ means that He is the cornerstone of your faith. It allows you know Him better because it goes from your head to your heart as you have honestly experienced Jesus with real heart felt passion. Being rooted also makes you mighty. It gives you the power to say no to sin and the ability to do the right thing. The Holy Spirit will empower you and make you feel invincible. When Jesus is at the center of your life, you can refocus if you slip up. Life can knock you down, but you will be able to rise above it. Knowing that Jesus is always there to love, protect and heal you will change everything. It takes time to know Christ’s love. It doesn’t happen over night. Being rooted everyday allows you to see how deep and wide His love for you is as you commit to growing in Him over time. Once you have experienced that love, you can then begin to extend that love to others. Some ways to develop your relationship with Christ include studying the Bible, opening up to Him through prayer, worshiping Him, being thankful and attending church. You need other Christians to walk through life with. Make God a priority and let Him transform your life.