Are You An Evangelical Christian…or A Disciple Of Christ?

crosslove

Because there’s a HUGE difference.  At least when it comes to the branding of the two.  But I think what may trouble me the most is how VASTLY different the reputations are, yet how interchangeable we’ve made them.

There’s a LOT of things that Evangelicals are known for currently in western culture.  Do evangelicals shop at Target? NOPE.  Do we drink Starbucks at Christmas?  Of course not.  Do we own a gun?  That’s like asking do we own a Bible. Would we ever even CONSIDER registering as Democrat? Are you kidding me!?

See what I mean…

Evangelical Christians in America have some clearly defined reputations that precede us in every conversation, before we ever even get the chance to open our mouth.

But a disciple of Jesus, now that’s a different story.  See nearly 2000 years ago, in the ancient near east, a Jewish Rabbi stepped on the scene.  He, like most Rabbi’s of that particular time period, had followers.  The uber-devoted ones, who wanted to be just like their masters were called disciples.  As modern day Jesus followers, we’ve inadvertently hijacked the word but all it actually means is a follower of someone who desperately wants to be just like his master.

Right before Jesus was executed, He gave His followers one last but extremely important command.  In fact, He told His disciples that simply consistently following THIS command would cause ALL people to know who they were disciples of.  Basically, following this ONE command would cause a reputation to precede you.

It went like this…

“By THIS all men will know you are my disciples, if you…

boycott stores that don’t support your values or belief systems…”

Wait, sorry, scratch that…

“By THIS all men will know you are my disciples, if you…

vote conservative.  all day, every day.  #stophillary…”

No that’s not it either…how about…

“By THIS all men will know you are my disciples, if you…

eat chic-fil-a at least 3 times a week…because, well, c’mon it’s Christian Chicken.”

No, as a matter fact, Jesus only wanted his followers to have ONE reputation that preceded them…

“By THIS, all men will know you are my disciples, if you…

LOVE. ONE. ANOTHER.  Just as I have loved you, you’ve got to love one another.”

And how did HE love?  With selfless, humble servitude, and sacrifice.  With compassion, and kindness.  With forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  Think about it, even while we were STILL all up in our sin, He gave his life for us.  He looked at the very people who put Him on the cross and begged His father to have mercy on them and their ignorance.

***Now, here me say this loud and clear to avoid a comment war below.  If you boycotted Target or Starbucks, eat at Chic-Fil-A, are a member of NRA, or hosted a Trump rally at your kids karate school last week, I’M NOT KNOCKING YOU.  This isn’t an article meant to demean, criticize, or make fun of your decision. (Well, unless you actually held a Trump rally at your kids karate school, in that case, quit being a loser.)

This isn’t about arguing the merits of those decisions.

This is about REPUTATION.

Which REPUTATION proceeds you?  Do people know you as an Evangelical Christian, or as a Disciple of this life-changing rabbi named Jesus?

Do people hear more about your political, and cultural positions & decisions than they do about the compassion and forgiveness you have towards your neighbor?

See, I’m convinced, that in the current culture of Christianity, we’ve somehow made the mistake of allowing our political & social values to overshadow our most important value, the value of love.

Here’s a great litmus test.  Go back and examine the past 72 hours of your social media posts, and face to face conversations and interactions.  What percentage was used to further a social position, political ideology, or cultural belief?  Now, what percentage was used to lift someone up from their despair, or provide hope to someone who is broken by sharing with them the heart and character of Jesus.

Culture isn’t the enemy.  They are the point.  Jesus died to rescue, restore, and redeem all of humanity to His Father in Heaven.  And WE are His conduit to do just that.  But if we allow ourselves to become so distracted by the things we oppose IN this world, that we rarely actually show the Love of Jesus TO the world, then we’ll never REACH the very world that Jesus commanded us to.

Disciples are known by their love.  Evangelicals are known by their positions.  So I ask again, are you known as an evangelical…or a disciple?  Which reputation precedes you.

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