When I was in high school, I remember walking out to my car one morning and seeing the words ‘You’re a whore’ written on the window. I think we can all agree that the saying Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you is a complete lie. Those words hurt me a lot. And I carried them in my heart for years, wondering if that’s what people thought of me.
Until I came across four very important words in Mark.
“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Take courage!’ they said. ‘Get up! He is calling for you.’ Throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and came to Jesus.” – Mark 10:49-50
Throwing. Off. His. Cloak.
In New Testament times, beggars were usually blind, disabled, or diseased, and their cloak identified them as such. It was what qualified them to receive assistance. But Bartimaeus threw off that cloak. He knew that he would never be the same again after being called by the King of Kings, so he immediately cast away his old life.
And I realized I needed to do the same thing. It was time to throw off the various cloaks I had picked up in my life—whore, addict, sinner, perfectionist—so that I could put on the cloak being handed to me by my Savior: His.
I will never forget seeing those nasty words scribbled on my car. But when I hold those words in one hand and God’s words in the other, it’s easy to decide which ones I want to give power in my life.
Anytime that we base our identity on a label given to us by another person, good or bad, we are held captive by their opinions. But God is unchanging, unfailing, and unshakable, and when we find our identity in Him, we become those things as well.
What cloak do you need to throw off today as you run to Jesus?
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!”
– 2 Corinthians 5:17