I’ve grown to love the ladies at my weekly bible study. For Christmas I wanted to get them something. It had to be something I could do on a budget though. I decided to give homemade sweet treats. But what would I put them in? Then I remembered all the glass jars I’ve been saving thinking someday they would come in handy. Today was that day.
There was an assortment of jars that had been used for different things. All of them still had their labels but I wanted clear, clean glass jars. So I filled up my kitchen sink with water and put a few jars in to soak. After letting the jars sit overnight, I pulled them out one by one. I cleaned the inside and took off the label on the outside. Most of them came off pretty well but there was always some sticky, leftover residue. That is when my task became a bit more tedious. I was expecting it so I was up for the challenge. With warm water and just the right tools, I would scrap off every bit of glue that so desperately wanted to stay on. After the jar was free of residue I would give it one more cleaning inside and out then dry it off. Now the jar was ready to be filled with inviting mouthwatering goodies. As a final touch I dressed them up with a ribbon. After finding the perfect gift bag they were ready to be sent out as gifts.
This was my process with each of the jars. It took some time to get them all done. I didn’t rush it though. I knew it would be worth doing a good job. As I stood by my kitchen sink scrapping away the gunk from the label that stubbornly refused to let go, it dawned on me that I am just like one of these jars. Life slaps labels on me telling others what I’m made of. Some labels try to define me or give adjectives to describe me. There are colors and patterns on the labels to get the world to experience what they think I’m about. Yet these labels, unlike jar labels, were not given to me by my Creator. They were set in place by my past, other people, or lies I’ve come to believe. Most of these “labels” are negative and not what the Lord sees in me.
The Lord is going through the same process with me that I was going through with the jars.He has selected me for a purpose. He sees the label on me but also knows what I will become. He takes me as I am and is pleased to have me soak in His presence. The label comes off fairly easy once I’ve been soaking in His presence. It’s there, in His presence, I begin to know who I truly am. Yet, there is that bit of label gunk that still clings to me. The Lord is not surprised and fully ready to complete the job He’s started in me (Phil.1:6). Firmly, yet lovingly, He scraps away all the residue that is trying to disqualify me from my purpose. Filling me with truth, the lies I’ve come to believe fall off. Before long I am clean and ready to be filled with God’s goodness. He helps me discover the gifts and abilities He’s put in me.
In reality this process often takes years and the Lord doesn’t wait til we are picture perfect before filling us. Praise God! He works through us even while He’s working on us. I must be patient with myself and with God.
What labels are you believing about yourself? How did it get there and what does God say about it? Soak in the Lord’s presence and let Him clean off any gunk that is trying to stick to you.