A Christian Who Hates the Word Christian
Ask 20 people what it means to be a Christian and you will get 20 different answers. They will range from "being a good person and going to church" to "someone who believes in Jesus" to "hypocrite" and many other things in between. As a Christian, I don't just not like the word Christian, I hate it and try not to use it. With the world twisting around what it means to be a Christian, and so many Christians not striving to be like Christ and just "getting by" I don't want to be placed in that category. The word "Christian" literally translates into "little Christ." Yes, I want to be like Christ. Yes, I want to do what He has called me to do with my life. Yes, I want to follow with selfless abandon where ever He may call me. But there is such a negative connotation with the word Christian. Would you want to be put in a group by others where many of the words used to describe that group were rude, judgmental, hypocrite, and fake? The world we live in today seems to think thats what Christians are.
The word, or actually words I chose to use to describe myself is a "Christ-follower." In the Old Testament the students who were studying the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) would follow their teacher or Rabbi around all day to learn as much as they could from him. While I was still in the youth group as a student my pastor, Ryan, gave a message about this concept. While times have changed, and I am no longer a student of Ryan's and he and his family have moved to Haiti to be missionaries, the message has stuck with me all these years. Jesus is my Rabbi. I want to learn as much from Him as I can. I want to follow Him around all day, every day to imitate His every move. I want to be covered in the dust of my Rabbi.
That last sentence sounded a little funny. I am not Jewish, but I want to be covered in the dust of my Rabbi. Let me explain. When these students were following their Rabbi (translated in English as teacher), sometimes they would follow so close that they would literally be covered in the dirt coming off the street from behind the Rabbi's steps. That's how close I want to be with Christ. I want to be covered in the dust of my teacher. The Teacher who knows everything. The Teacher who knows my every thought before I think it. The Teacher who despite how badly I fail a test still accepts me back into his class. The Teacher who gives directions better than any GPS. The Teacher who knows all of the names of His students, even if they don't know him. The Teacher who rules over all things, even the rocks and trees cry out to Him.
I don't like hiking and getting dirt all over me, as I learned quickly going up Garth in Wales. But I would be willing to follow my Rabbi and get completely filthy in his dust hiking so close to Him up any mountain or down any trail. If my Rabbi told me to follow Him up Pen Y Fan, which is the tallest mountain in South Wales, I would do it, because I want to covered in His dust.
Being a Christ-follower, I want to have the strength in my faith to say "Yes" to whatever Jesus is calling me to do. And though sometimes I'm scared, Jesus calls me to trust Him, much like Peter getting out of the boat.
"Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," the said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord if it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." - Matthew 14: 25-33
Christ-follow-ship isn't always about having the right answers or being the best at things, but it's about wanting to be covered in the dust of your Rabbi.