What are boxes used for? Well, they can be used for a number of things:
1. They can be used as containers, keeping their contents in one place until the contents are needed.
2. They can be used as organizers. Once labeled, they can be very helpful in knowing what’s inside of them; they can then be grouped into categories to make finding what you need a lot simpler.
3. They can be used as sleds...just ask Linus from “Peanuts”!
The thing about boxes, though, is that they can ruin the contents within them, depending on what material the boxes are made of. Have you ever opened a cardboard box that was damaged by water that had clothes or vinyl records in them? Pretty disgusting, wouldn’t you agree? Now, what does one usually do once that cardboard box has been destroyed? One usually replaces that box with a new one and places the contents within it. However, although the box has been replaced, the damage to the contents has already been done; the contents will never be the same.
Unfortunately, the “box” concept has been used by people on people. It happens whenever people are labeled, categorized, stereotyped, mistreated, misused, mishandled, and even neglected. Some of the “boxes” that have been used over time are:
- The “Master Race” concept, where one particular race goes through life thinking that their race is better than all the rest
- The concept of race as a whole, taking people’s physical traits and life experiences and turning them into a category of “race” in an attempt to make people fit into those generalities
- Denominational creeds, rules, and regulations
- Systematic traditions
These “boxes” have caused much damage to the human race, demoralizing and squelching the human spirit.
Some of the “boxes” mentioned above have even been used within the church! It hurts me to see that the ways of the world have made its way into the thinking of those within the body of Christ. However, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Things that I’ve seen and even experienced have been going on among the human race since the beginning of known history; it’s no surprise.
Although this might be the case, should these “boxes” even exist in the kingdom of God? No!
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
God’s people should NEVER be contained or limited. We are supposed to be a beacon for others in the world; it’s not possible to be this when we are told that we have to look a certain way or be a certain way in order to appease certain people. Now, don’t twist these words. This is not a license to sin. Those who live by the Spirit wouldn’t even entertain such a thought. All I’m saying here is that we need to find out how God has wired us, and live that life wholeheartedly for His glory and honor. There’s no telling how many seeds are planted or watered when we do this!
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
(Colossians 3:11 NIV)
When our attention is turned towards “race” and other similar humanistic stereotypes and categorizations, we lose sight of who truly identifies us. Jesus is the One who gives us our identity, because those who live by the Spirit will be a reflection of Him. I believe that God in His wisdom created us all differently so that we can be a testimony of His greatness through our life experiences. All of the different types of food, music, clothing, etc. speak volumes about God’s creativity. Just imagine how beautiful of an offering to God it would be if everyone brought their life experiences to the table on the foundation of Christ! What a powerful testimony that would be!
Let’s not let the world define who we are and how we should treat one another. Let’s gain our identity from Jesus and build on His foundation. Let’s think outside the box.
May God be glorified through my entire life!