Thinking about my word renew and seeing posts on Facebook talking about not calling ourselves Christians anymore, started me thinking. And truthfully, when I first read them, I completely agreed with them. If you look at my About page, you will see I do not have myself marked as a Christian. It’s almost become like a bad word. And then I started thinking about why … why has the word Christian become something we want to disassociate ourselves with? I mean, what’s the word Christian mean anyway?
- 1.of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings.“the Christian Church”noun
- 1.a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
What is it about these definitions that I don’t want to associate myself with? Then I thought, “You know what? “It’s not about the definition, but what comes to mind when hearing the word.” And the issue is, this is defined by other people. Not necessarily by people who call themselves Christians, but by those who don’t and those people who don’t live as Christians. We see them say they are Christian, but they lie, steal, cheat, swindle, gossip, are rude and mean. People whose lifestyles we don’t agree with and quite frankly, probably wouldn’t be friends with. And the worst part is, it’s really a small number of people.
If I look around me and my everyday life and I look at the people who I would give the title of Christian too, based on what I know about them and the definition of Christian, I’d be quite happy to call myself a Christian. But it’s whenever I look to media and the “Christian” the media has chosen to elevate and spotlight, I begin to distance myself from the label.
So now, my train of thought has gone to, “Why do we allow labels to define us, instead of us defining the label?” Think about it for a minute. Read it again, Why do we allow labels to define us, instead of us defining the label? Where in your life are you allowing a label to define you instead of you to define a label?
Labeled. We find ourselves labeled every where. But typically, the label defines us. How many times do we define the label?
What if we decided to define labels? What if instead of disassociated ourselves with labels, we decided to define a label by how we live? What if the label was so well defined by our lifestyle, other people would start saying the people media chooses to elevate are not a Christian?
Let’s take a look at a very popular holiday such as Christmas. Right now there is a push to redefine what Christmas is. But this wouldn’t be the first time that it was redefined.
It just so happens that on the twenty-fifth of December in the Roman Empire there was a pagan holiday that was linked to mystery religions; the pagans celebrated their festival on December 25. The Christians didn’t want to participate in that, and so they said, “While everybody else is celebrating this pagan thing, we’re going to have our own celebration. We’re going to celebrate the thing that’s most important in our lives, the incarnation of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. So this is going to be a time of joyous festivities, of celebration and worship of our God and King.” ~ Ligonier Ministries
Here we stand at another cross roads of a defining moment. Here we are today with the exact same thing happening just in the opposite direction. There is movement to take Christmas and redefine it as a Happy Holiday. People are trying to redefine a time, instead a time defining the label.
Maybe we need to decide what we want to be and start carrying those labels, and allow our actions to define those labels. If we call ourselves Christians, let’s be what a Christian should be. So much so, people can’t help but know what a Christian is, so when the media elevates somebody who doesn’t fit the definition we’ve written with the actions of our life, there is no way, they can be defined as such. They would essentially disassociate themselves with the label because of their actions.
There was a time when people were either Jew or Gentile. And several times we read in scripture about getting rid of those labels. Over time, these were redefined, or as Colossians in the Message reads, “Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.”
So we can either allow this time in our life to redefine what Christian means or we can take this time to define it by our lives.
I think about the Muslim faith, look at how hard Muslims are fighting to keep the label despite the horrible things some people who call themselves Muslims are doing. It really is war about a label. I may not believe what they believe, but there are some really good people who are trying to define what Muslim mean. And then there are some really bad people trying to define what Muslim means.
It doesn’t matter what the label is does it? Think about some labels in your life. It could be Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Mother, Father, Sister, Son, Accountant, Pastor, Programmer, Black, White, Asian, American, Educated, Uneducated, etc. In your circle of influence, who defines those labels? What if you stepped up and defined them? What would it look like?
Maybe it’s time for us to stand up, call ourselves Christians and fight for that label. If we don’t, what will it become? Or will we run from it and allow a small number to define it? We really are Free2Live labeled a Christian.
Let’s start defining labels instead of allowing labels to define us. Let’s start defining labels by our actions, so other disqualify themselves from those labels. Let’s be Free2Live Labeled!