Sometimes the label "Christian" can become a little like that. Put a Bible verse or a cross on something and voilà...it's now a Christian something! There are Christian purses and backpacks. You can equip your pet with a Christian collar. Is clipping your nails too...secular? No problem! Get some Christian nail clippers. And one of my all-time favorites: Christian breath mints! Now, I probably sound a little cynical here. But let me again be clear—I really don't have a problem with any of those things per se. If you want to get breath mints with Bible verses on them, that's just fine! But I wonder If we ought to be somewhat careful using the label "Christian" for...well...stuff. Keep in mind, the word "Christian" means fairly literally, "Christ one". It denotes someone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ; a follower. In the culture of the first century church, (from where this word comes), this concept of being a follower or disciple of someone was a powerful one. A disciple of someone would have known that person's teachings well, and they would have striven to follow those teachings. A disciple would have attempted to emulate the person they followed. And if that person asked them to do something, a disciple would have done it without question. In other words, being "Christ ones" was not simply a label for these early disciples; it defined who they were and how they behaved. And they would not have used the term "disciple of Christ" to define their nail clippers!
But my real point in all this really isn't about merchandise at all. My real point has to do with us. We frequently use the label "Christian" to define ourselves...it's who we are. But is it really an apt title? Does it truly mean something? Are we more than people who prayed a prayer at a certain point in our lives? Are we disciples? Do we follow Jesus Christ; listen to Him; obey Him; emulate Him? In fact, let's make this extremely personal—you make it about you and I'll make it about me. Does the label "Christ one" or "Disciple of Christ" truly define you? Or does that label fit you about as well as "restaurant quality" fits a 59-cent noodle lunch? Food for thought!
- Pastor Paul