The Discontinuation of a Label (written by Melissa Woods)
This month I am reading the Read, Pray, Obey (RPO) along with other church members in the book of Acts. I have never studied the book of Acts as a whole so I am excited to embark on this journey with my church family. I am only in chapter 4 as of today, but I have been writing down each day the events of each chapter, key verses from each chapter, and thoughts and ideas from the chapters that the Holy Spirit plant in my mind.
As Acts chapter 3 begins, Peter and John have recently experienced the miraculous, promised, tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and they are now living life with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As they pass by on their way to the temple, a lame beggar begs for money at the temple gate. Each day the lame man was brought to the same place, to beg some of the same people, and the next day he would do it all over again. Can you imagine how the beggar may have felt when Peter and John looked him straight in the eye and Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit healed the lame man. This man who had been lame since his mother’s womb was now walking, leaping, and praising God (v.8). The man went with Peter and John inside the temple, and Peter used the witness of this man to preach to those in the temple.
I can’t help but think about the lame, now healed, man. All of his life he probably endured a label such as the “lame child”, “the lame boy”, “the lame man”, “the lame beggar”. BUT NOW, what label would he receive? What would define him for the rest of his life? Would he be called, “the one who God healed?” or “the one who came with Peter and John to the temple when 5,000 believed (Acts 4:4)?” The man now proclaims God’s healing and is a witness to the Holy Spirit’s power in Peter and John. God and His Spirit will define him for all eternity. The healed man knew who had healed him! That’s what prompted his praise to God!
The question for each of us is, “What label have I worn for way too long?” “What have I allowed to define me?” Are you defined by some label that other people have given you? Is it some sinful desire that you have not repented of? Are you defined by some passion that you haven’t surrendered to the Lord? Maybe a better question is, “Who have I allowed to define me?”
What would happen in your life if you allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to discontinue your earthly labels and allowed God and His Holy Spirit’s power to start defining you? I’m certain that you would be walking, leaping and praising God in the same way this lame beggar, turned healed man, expressed his new found identity!