The Price We Pay for the Labels We Wear + Video Recording of Live Event

For the rest of your life, people will be trying to find words to describe you, to sum you up, and to categorize you. Humans label things, it’s what they do. And if you are not careful, you will start to define yourself by the labels others have placed upon you. This is a grave mistake.

For the rest of your life, people will be trying to find words to describe you, to sum you up, and to categorize you.

Humans label things, it’s what they do.

And if you are not careful, you will start to define yourself by the labels others have placed upon you.

This is a grave mistake.

Human labels may be a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean they have to rule our life.

We can choose to receive or reject them.
We can choose to live by them or live them up.
We can allow them to stunt our growth or we can outgrow them.

What Labels are Stuck on Your Soul?

A few months ago, I received an invitation to speak at my old high school.

I immediately knew that I wanted to talk to the students about the hidden dangers of labeling one another.

Because the labels that are placed upon us by teachers, classmates, friends and foes have the power to cling to our souls well into adulthood.

I challenge you to think back on your high school years and remember labels you wore during that season of life.

Popular.
Cool.
Loner.
Tall.
Short.
Pretty.
Smart.
Athletic.
Nerdy.
Loud.
Shy.
Dramatic.
Friendly.

For the rest of your life, people will be trying to find words to describe you, to sum you up, and to categorize you. Humans label things, it’s what they do. And if you are not careful, you will start to define yourself by the labels others have placed upon you. This is a grave mistake.

Are you surprised at how easy it is to remember the labels that defined you so long ago?

I believe it is is because most of us spend our adult life trying to either escape or recapture the labels of our past.

We long to escape the labels that isolate, frustrate, and haunt us.

Conversely, we have an insatiable desire to recapture labels that made us feel valuable, worthy and significant.

And every label we choose to wear has a price tag!

Do any of the labels hastily slapped on your heart by others capture your one true identity, your ultimate role, your purpose for living? Absolutely not! Because the only One who has the authority to label us is the One who created us. In the same way that an inventor gets to name his invention, and tell the world why he invented it—our Creator God has named us, and told the world why He created us.

Do any of the labels hastily slapped on your heart by others capture your true identity, your ultimate role, your purpose for living?

Absolutely not!

Because the only One who has the authority to label us is the One who created us.

In the same way that an inventor gets to name his invention, and tell the world why he invented it—our Creator God has named us, and told the world why He created us.

We can find this beautiful truth wrapped up in the promise of Isaiah 43:6-7, where it says, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” [NIV]

Never has there been nor ever will there be someone just like you.

You are God’s daughter (or son) and you were exclusively, extensively, and exhaustively designed for HIS glory.

But God didn’t stop there!

The Bible is overflowing with beautiful labels, attributes, and declarations about us….God’s beloved children.

Here are just a few of the eternal labels your Creator has given you:

You are a child of God.
An incredible work of art,
The Salt of the Earth,
A Joint-Heir with Christ,
The temple of the Holy Spirit.

You part of a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation.
You are God’s workmanship,
Created for His glory,
Purchased with the blood of Jesus,
Sanctified,
Holy,
And Complete.

For the rest of your life, people will be trying to find words to describe you, to sum you up, and to categorize you. Humans label things, it’s what they do. And if you are not careful, you will start to define yourself by the labels others have placed upon you. This is a grave mistake.
So, the next time someone tries to sum you up, describe you, or categorize you, I challenge you to consider these three things:

Consider the Source – Hurting people hurt people.
Consider the Cost – Every label we receive has a price tag.
Consider the Cross – Does this label increase  your dependency on Jesus Christ?

Human labels are opinion, nothing more. God’s labels are fact, nothing less.

I truly enjoyed preparing and delivering my talk on labels to 180+ students and faculty at Raipd City Christian School in December.

I have shared a few video clips of the talk on social media (click here to view video clips on Facebook), but I also wanted to make the complete video available to you today.

This  message is so dear to my heart, and I’ve lovingly labeled it the “Peanut Butter Talk.”

It won’t take you long to figure out why…..

I pray it is an encouragement to you today.

Some Concluding Thoughts….

And finally, I charge you to be cautious about the words you use to label others.

Proverbs 18:1 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Your words have sticking power — they will cling to the souls of your loved ones for decades.

Speak life.
Speak truth.
Speak love.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:4

This article has been shared at many these Faith & Family Linkups.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

38 thoughts on “The Price We Pay for the Labels We Wear + Video Recording of Live Event

  1. “Human labels may be a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean they have to rule our life.” Amen! I was just talking to my sister about this the other day. God has the final say over what we get to label ourselves as — and God’s labels are always good!!!

  2. This message is fantastic, Sarah! Beautiful!! May we take to heart the truth of God’s labels for us and release those human opinions that can only lead to pride or unnecessarily low self-esteem. Blessings!

    1. The polarizing effect of human labels astounds me (pride — low self-esteem), we should take that as a warning sign! God’s labels are safe, satisfying, and sanctified….and so very wonderful. Let’s press into those precious words today.

  3. This is such an important message and it’s so great that you got the chance to share it at your school. It’s important to remember that only God’s opinion about us really matters, and to realise that our words have huge impact so we need to use them well.

  4. So true! We label, label and label, more! Well, during my journey, I am trying to shake society’s labels and just wear HIS label: FRIEND…John 15:15–“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” That’s a label that He gave me with the shedding of His blood and I’m so thankful. Great post!! Thank you, for the encouragement. Cynthia

  5. You are a brave soul going back to speak at your high school. Great message – I can’t think of a better one to share at this moment in our history. I pray the kids take it to heart. These words have the power to change lives. Have a blessed week!

    1. It took more courage than I anticipated, but in the same sense, it was more fulfilling than I anticipated too. It’s an incredible experience to craft a message for an audience that is so dear to your heart. Thanks for swinging by and taking the time to say hi, June. I appreciate you.

  6. This is such a beautiful, empowering message, Sarah. I had never thought about the labels I’ve carried until this recent season of life. I’m learning that there is power in what others say about us – but MORE power in who God says we are. I’m excited to share this message everywhere today! Thanks for honestly sharing & consistently writing from the heart.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging words, Alison. Human labels are super sticky, but God’s labels are like spiritual goo-be-gone, they help us rip off the painful labels of our past and move forward into ALL that He has planned for us.

  7. What a beautifully inspiring post that we all need reminding of! Why is it so hard to believe the labels God gives us and so easy to believe those of people we don’t even know?

    Replacing lies with truth until I believe it deep in my soul!

    1. I don’t know why it’s so easy to let human labels stick to us and so difficult to replace them with God’s labels, but you are right…it is easier to cling to the earthly than it is to reach for the eternal. Cheers to replacing lies with God’s truth!

    1. You are so right, the very thing that is dangerous (human labels) can deliver us (God’s labels). Thanks for stopping by and joining in the conversation today, Micah. I appreciate you!

  8. Oh how I have bore the scars of labels! It has taken years to shed them, through the healing power of Jesus Christ. Let’s remember than when an unGodly label is cast upon us, it is usually the doing of Satan our Accuser. Be quick to cast off that earthly label and grab hold of your identity in Christ!!! Love this.

  9. It really is so easy to label others – and ourselves. May we all live in the truth of who we are in God’s sight, and give grace to those around us.

  10. Sarah, what a beautifully written post. I just love this. Those girls are so blessed to have you advocating for them. 🙂 Stopping by from Dawn’s place this morning. 🙂 (Fyi, I have a new linkup, too. 🙂 You’re welcome to join in, if you’d like! It’s called Chasing Community and it’s on Thursdays on my site. 🙂 ) Thanks for sharing, Sarah. ((hug))

  11. “Human labels are opinion, nothing more. God’s labels are fact, nothing less.”
    Amen, sister! I love this truth! Thanks for getting the word out there; so many people are fooled by the lies. Probably all of us have been at some point.

    1. Labels are a tricky thing, they are enticing….yes….but they are also dangerous. So glad that our God saw fit to give us a book full of beautiful labels to help us as we navigate the world of human labels (and determine what we will allow to stick and what we won’t).

  12. This message is such a good reminder for everyone but I am especially glad you shared it with high schoolers. My husband teaches high school and I know from his stories it is such a hard time for kids.

    1. We spend our high school years trying to find ourselves, only to discover we aren’t the person everyone told us we were during those years! Yes, high school is a challenge and an ugly memory for many of us. So grateful for the opportunity to share some much needed perspective with those precious children.

  13. It’s funny (and sad) that we give more weight to the labels given by those who don’t really know us than to the ones given by the God who does. I think a power exercise is to just read through the book of Ephesians chpts 1-3 and meditate on everything God says about us. Renewing our minds with those truths goes a long way to counter the shifting opinions of the world. Thanks!

    1. Now that’s a beautiful godly label to slap on your chest and wear proudly!

      My poor chickens, they seem to be misplacing their feathers (I think we’ve got a bully situation on our hands).

  14. Oh, you hit the nail on the head, friend… we spend so much of our adult lives trying to unstick the untruths that were pasted on our souls. Ouch! 🙂 But for grace and for His goodness and for His love we can’t really get rid of those stains, can we? Even if we work really hard and find success in this life, it is the deep and abiding love of God and the washing cleansing power of His Word that wipes all that away. Such good reminders to wade deep in the well of His love, Sarah!
    Thank you for being a valuable part of the #GraceMoments Community!
    Much love,
    Dawn
    Bless you!
    Dawn

  15. Wow, this message is SO powerful. Labels run deep and often we don’t even notice we’re living by them. I find myself doing so quite often. I love your list of new labels given by Christ. Definitely will be sharing this post!

  16. Yes, I was labeled and believed these labels until now. What was said to me was not truth, but as a child I firmly affixed the labels into my heart.
    Re-learning what God says about me is a work in progress.
    Thank you for this post!

  17. Love love love everything about this!! The timing was crazy as I literally just came from a ladies group where we were studying Lisa Bevere’s book “Without Rival” and were specifically talking about comparison and labels. Really like the part “consider the source, the cost, the cross” – excellent points and an excellent reminder of Christ’s labels for us. Thank you for your words and for your challenge.

    1. I am so glad you stopped by, Crystal. I’ve heard great things about Lisa’s latest book. Labels are such a problem in our culture, so glad you are taking time to break free and re-label yourself according to God’s truth. Keep it up, girl!

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