This morning as I was reading my Bible, in my Chronological plan I came to 1 Peter 4. As I read verses 14-17 I was immediately challenged in my spirit.
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are greatly blessed, because the Spirit of glory and power, who is the Spirit of God, rests upon you.
15 Let none of you merit suffering as a murderer, or thief, or criminal, or as one who meddles in the affairs of others. 16 If you suffer for being a Christian, don’t consider it a disgrace but a privilege. Glorify God because you carry the Anointed One’s name. 17 For the time is ripe for judgment to begin in God’s own household. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who refuse to obey the gospel of God?
This is right where I am. I was just telling my daughter the other day that I have been feeling like I needed to distance myself from other “Christians” who are not acting very Christ-like. As I look at social media and talk with family and friends, I see people using the name Christian to put others down, to rant and challenge others for things they perceive they are doing and the perceived reasons they are doing those things, like getting the Covid-19 Vaccine. (I know good people on both sides of this controversial issue.) Sadly, often I see people using the name of Christ as a weapon to cut others down, all the while seeming to brag about how righteous they are. And yet, I don’t see this behaviour as being something that would make Christ proud.
I really believe that the enemy is using, so called “Christians,” to taint the name of Christianity so that we, as Christians, do not want to be associated with those others by being referred to with the same name. And yet, here in the Bible, it says that if you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed.
How do we deal with this? At first, I had tried to think of another name I could refer to myself as, like Christ follower, or something along those lines. However, I am feeling convicted that I need to not look to distance myself, but to allow Christ to shine through me with truth, humility, love, forgiveness, and unity. I need to ensure that my reputation as a believer is pure, not that I am better than anyone, or pure for that matter, as I am sinful, I have not even come close to perfection, but….I am striving for it. I am daily seeking to be a true follower of Christ, and I welcome being labelled as a Christian and if that brings with it negativity, so be it – I will not disown the name Christian.
Lord, I pray that You will guide and direct my heart to be Your true follower, to not allow what the world thinks about that name to change my desire to be labelled as Yours – a Christian. Amen