When I was in 5h grade, I got in trouble for talking in class. I was making all of the people around me laugh. My teacher said if I did it again then I would have detention. Well 10 minutes later it happened again. My teacher told me that unless I gave her a good reason for why I was laughing I had detention. I told her in health class we learned that laughing builds our immune system and since I had a cold, laughing would be less distracting sneezing. She laughed at me and called me “Slick.” This nickname stuck. For the rest of the year, my teacher and my class called me slick. I learned how I could be smooth with words to get what I want. This label shaped my future. Other people said talk was cheap, but smooth talking got me friends, jobs, and many opportunities.
This is the story of Jacob. Labels shaped how he saw himself, the things that he pursued, and the choices that shaped who he became. All of that began at birth when his parents named him Jacob which means deceiver and supplanter. Jacob was a twin and second born. So Jacob wanted to surplant his older brother Esau so he could have the first born right. So Jacob waits or the right moment and takes advantage of his brother in a weak moment.
The first label is the label others put on us. All of us have labels that have been put on us. Some lifted us up and others tore us down. Some were from people we cared about and others were just people who said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Either way these labels gave us an identity that we walked in either to prove right or fight to prove wrong. That is where our story begins.
Genesis 25:29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)
31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”
32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”
33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
What are the labels other people have put on you? Write them down. Who did they come from? How do you respond to them? Are they lies of the enemy that work against you to kill the good God wants for you? Ask Holy Spirit to replace the lie. Write down your new label.
Often the process I describe above is painful. I know it has been for me. Many of these old wounds have layer Holy Spirit leads me to. I will think I have fully dealt with the wound only for Him to take me to another layer of the wound. What I know is this…
Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus