I want to take back the term “Christian.”
In the past decade or so, it’s been cool to call yourself “Christ-follower” or “Jesus Lover” or “Kingdom Bringer” –anything but “Christian,” because everyone knows that Christians are old fuddy-duddys that no one likes. (Don’t be offended-I’m the biggest sinner: My facebook profile lists me as a “Missional Christ Follower” … wha?!)
It’s okay to call yourself Christian.
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:16)
Photo Credit: Patrice Neff
Yes, I realize us Christians have gotten a bad rap. So I propose we start talking about “The (New) Christian” and I will do that in a five-part series of short posts called Taking Back Christianity. The foundational piece of any Christian:
This is what the rest is built upon. If you’re a Christian with shoddy character, you need to re-prioritize, because it’s our character that everything else is built upon. We’re not perfect by any means, we all slip up–so we’re not shooting for perfection. But we need to aim to be a person of character…
We must have integrity. Not simply honesty–but are we ‘structurally sound’? Can you be trusted with the little things as well as the big? We must have internal integrity (a consistency within) and external integrity (a unity with our fellow Christians). Is our word our word?
Are we flippant in our commitments? Do we say yes too quickly and forget to follow through too often? Are we willing to have our commitment tested? What happens when it is tested? We are known by our word, by our promises. What are you committed to?
Do we want to help others? Our goal should be to improve the world around us–that means the orphan across the world AND our next-door neighbor. As leaders, we should be serving our followers. As parents, our first thought should be for our children. As teachers, our goal is to teach and train others to be smarter and better than we ever were… Reject selfishness: give it all away.
Do we truly love God and love our neighbor? Or are we prideful and judgemental? This is one of my trip-ups that I have to work on daily. I am loving people as much as I can? Love. Simply love.
We can’t improve, we can’t help others, we can’t make a difference in this world if we’re sitting on our couch. We need to be moving. Jesus told us to Go. And make disciples. Once we accept our free gift of grace and salvation, we have an active role, not a passive one.
Christians should be setting the bar for media, businesses, ministries, and life. We weren’t called to live mediocre lives, we were called to live abundant, full lives. Sweep with excellence. Iron clothes with excellence. Balance the books with excellence. Pastor a congregation with excellence. So whatever you do, do it with excellence.
Stay tuned: The series continues with “Courage”