As I wrote last week, when we come to Christ, we are called by a new name because we are now His. The name "Christian" redefines who we are because of whose we have become. As a result, the fruit of our lives should match what we say our name is and Who we say we are living for.
We call ourselves "Christians," but do our lives reflect the nature and character of Christ? Sadly, what our lips confess is not always what our lives profess.
The name "Christian" seems to have become a label void of meaning. Merely wearing the name "Christian" is not the same as living up to the name of Christ. Jeremiah understood Who he represented and proclaimed, "I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty." Jeremiah knew Who his Maker was and Who he lived for. His life testified to Who he said he belonged to.
Not long ago, I found myself in a convicting situation. I visited my favorite, trendy local women's second hand store. Myself and two other ladies were the first customers to arrive. After the doors opened I made my way to the $1 rack, which is reserved for the $3 items that don't sell over the weekend.
Immediately I saw a pair of jeans my size, not to mention I needed a good pair. I tried them on and they were perfect! I went to the cash register to pay for my items. A whopping $8 of loot from the $1 rack. I shared with the gal how excited I was to find such great bargains.
One at a time she took the items off of the hangers and placed them in a bag. All of the items, that is, except my perfect new pair of jeans. "These are designer jeans and I cannot sell these to you for $1." I patiently told her, "Well, they were on the $1 rack at the top of the stairs which is what I checked right after you opened." (I didn't want her to think I had put them there). "Well, you see," she proceeded to tell me, "They must have been put there accidently by our new gal. I simply cannot sell these to you for $1."
There must be some misunderstanding. There is even a red mark through the price that looked like a "1," I thought to myself. "What about the "1" marked in red on the tag?" I asked. "Oh, that's not a "1," that is a mark showing these jeans are half price. They were $60 and now they're $30. Like I said, I cannot sell these for $1." Call me cheap, but I have never forked out $30 for a pair of jeans and I wasn't about to start.
I stood there in disappointment. I wasn't bummed because I was going to lose-out on a 'designer' pair of jeans (I didn't even know they were until she said so), but mostly because they were exactly what I needed. Then my ugly side persisted to burst forth, "Wouldn't it be the responsibility of this store for the employees to check the $1 rack to make sure the right items were on there? These jeans were on the $1 rack with 15 other items."
She reluctantly sold me the jeans for $1, but as I walked out of the store I did not feel so elated about my purchase. Some might say, "Hey, it's the store's fault, they had them on the wrong rack." True, but the Holy Spirit told me otherwise. I was convicted for not representing my Maker as I should have.
I didn't need to prove my case as to why they were wrong and I was right and they better pony up and sell me those jeans for a buck. I should have graciously understood the mistake and accepted it without my rebuttal. Granted, this isn't exactly a store in the mall who has its inventory coded. I understood how this kind of mistake could happen. In my heart, I knew I could never keep these jeans. Guilt would hang over me every time I would put them on, as it lready began to.
Less than 24 hours later I found myself back at the store. I returned the jeans and humbly sought their forgiveness. I apologized for not being more gracious and for insisting on getting my own way. I also told them, "I don't want to misrepresent Jesus. I am a Christian and I want my example to show my love for Him." The owner was surprised by my return but she understood, being a Christian herself.
I politely left. As I drove home the peace of Christ filled my heart and the burden of guilt lifted from my heart. Thank you Lord for humbling me, for teaching me, for helping me confess when I am wrong. And Lord, who cares about those designer jeans, it's more important to me to wear the name of my Designer.
Living up to the name of Christ should be our constant pursuit and daily endeavor. To live in a way that does not bring shame to the name of Christ or cause others to question what we confess, but rather causes others to notice who we say we are. Here are a few ways we can do this:
- Love others sacrificially, by doing the unexpected and put their needs before our own.
- Tame our tongue, by curbing sarcasm when we are annoyed.
- Remove ourselves from temptation in an effort to resist sin.
- Serve our neighbors, co-workers, house guests, and relatives by looking for ways to bless them.
- Care for the needs of our family, including the daily mundane tasks, with a cheerful and grateful heart.
- Maintain a God honoring budget, in order to store up treasures in heaven.
- Work at our jobs with utmost integrity and character, even in the smallest of things.
- Remember our commitments, by being people of our word.
- Honor, respect, encourage and pray for our spouses, while striving to meet their needs.
- Refuse to justify our actions, when we know we are wrong.
- Offer grace when hurt and extend peace where turmoil exists.
- Renew our mind to be like His, by storing His Word in our heart.
A Christian is a Christ follower. One whose life parallels the attitudes and actions of Jesus. One whose passions are filtered through God's will for their lives. One whose daily interactions with others shows a heart that is concerned for the lost. One whose basis for truth and teaching always stems from God's Word. One whose lips and life agree! Let's live up to the Name!
Write down three ways you can more intentionally live up to the name of Christ. Let's be honest friends, what areas of weakness ensnare you and bring shame to His name?
Consider this past week: What actions/situations in your life did not bring glory to the precious name of Jesus?
What does the name "Christian" mean to you? What things do you associate with it? What should you associate with it?
Heart Transforming Word:
Deuteronomy 28:58-59 (NIV 1984) "If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name - the Lord your God - the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses."
Jeremiah 14:7 "Although our sins testify against us, O Lord, do something for the sake of your name. For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you."
Malachi 1:6 &14b "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name." (14b) "For I am a great king," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."
1 John 2: 6 "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did."
Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. Edited 2013. All rights reserved.