go ahead and label me

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In my last post, I mentioned something that I could honestly rant about (so just go ahead and thank me for all of my self-control!) I said that I don’t agree with everything our government, fellow Christians, the pro-life movement and even myself have said or done. To be honest, I have differences of opinion with the people I work closest with in each of these fields, but that’s not necessarily bad. Though I do long for a more unified Body, I know that we are all unique and that’s not something that keeps me up at night.

But there is something I’ve been wanting to write a bit about and a sermon I heard Sunday has really kept this on my mind. Recently, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about how they “follow Christ” but don’t want to be labeled as “Christian.”

*sigh*

I understand where this idea comes from. It’s kind of like, “Well, I am a Smith, but after what my brother just did, I don’t want to be associated with this family anymore.” And I get that. I really do. The people at Westboro Baptist call themselves Christians and their actions are repulsively far from Christ’s example. No Christian is perfect and many people who claim to be Christians behave in a very un-Christ-like manner. As a matter of fact, the Bible promises that we will come across people who claim to be Christians but are actually false teachers.

But with this said, why shirk the name of Christ?

Acts 11:26 tells us that, in Antioch, Jesus’ disciples first started calling themselves Christians. They wanted a name that would unify them and identify them as followers of Christ. “Christian” has an actual meaning and it’s not “conservative” or “judgmental” or “white” or “American.” The word “Christian” literally means belonging to Christ.

Removing yourself from that word won’t clear things up. Actually, I think it causes more confusion. Why not live your life trying to be a good representation of Christ, claiming His name, rather than starting a one-man denomination every time a brother offends you?

To me, the ability to call myself a Christian with any real confidence is the greatest honor I’ll have on this earth. I am saying that Jesus sought me and bought me. You don’t get someone’s name by hanging out with them or studying them. You only take the name of your father or your husband as a sign of  permanent connection and devotion.

The sermon I heard Sunday was about one of our names for God, Jehova Nissi. This name literally means “God is our banner.” A banner is something that unifies a group, states your allegiance and declares victory. Scripture constantly encourages us to call upon the name of the Lord. John 16:3 tells us that we will receive whatever we ask of God in Jesus’ name. John 20:31 tells us that we “have life” in the name of Jesus. We are taught to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Demons are cast out by the name of Jesus. Acts 4:12 says that there is “no other name” by which we can be saved.

When Paul was tortured, he rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

Here’s the deal: though I understand wanting to be disassociated with those who claim Christianity but don’t live like Christ, I don’t think we should ever hesitate to be associated with the name of Christ. Because if we do, we’ll avoid suffering. Everyone knows that you can talk about “God” all you want, talk about church and religion and spirituality, but if you mention Jesus, you’ll suffer dishonor. I sure want to make sure I’m counted worthy of that.

Don’t become a member at Westboro Baptist. Don’t repost this in order to get to heaven. But don’t hesitate to carry the banner. It isn’t everyone who carries the name of the King.

2 Responses to go ahead and label me

  1. Samantha July 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Amen!
    We need to be REAL representatives of Christ, regardless of what other “Christians” do or say or think.
    And as Christians, we will suffer for standing up for what is right; believe me, I know this to be true. But I won’t ever compromise my beliefs or not call myself a Christian just to dissociate myself from those who I think don’t represent Christ very well.
    And also, this applies to family. Yes, there may be some relatives who, maybe, we don’t want to associate with due to shame, embarrassment etc… but we should still carry our family name and do all we can to uphold it. A good name is rather to be chosen than riches. I’m thankful that my family has a good name and I carry my name(s) proudly!

  2. jessiquawittman July 22, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    *takes a deep breath*
    Okay… I’ll take the plunge! :)
    I agree. I think waaaay too many of us, (myself included sometimes,) let ourselves get offended by what other people think of or say about us.
    Something that I tell myself when I’m getting upset is:
    “What other people think-of/say-about me is none of my business.”

    I say that because… people are going to talk no matter what you do. They’re going to say things about and to you that you don’t like. We can’t control what is said or thought by others, we can only control what we ourselves say.
    If people want to compare me to the Crusaders, or to Westboro.
    Whatever…
    It may hurt, but I can’t let it affect my daily walk with Christ. I can’t let it get under my skin and irratate me. Because no matter what I do, or how much explaining I do, they’re gonna think what they want to think.
    All I can do is walk circumspectly, as if no one was watching but my Maker.

    “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1st Peter 3:15-17

    So yeah… label me crazy. Oh wait… I have another scripture for that.
    “If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” 2 Corinthians 5:13
    :)

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