Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Labels: Real or Imitation

Coach, Calvin Klein, Wrangler, Gap, Old Navy, Jones of New York .  What do all these have in common?  They are all labels.  Isn’t it strange we strive to have the best labels on the market?  If your jeans are not the latest trend and you walk out in a pair of Lee jeans, you might get some funny looks.  I proudly carry a Kohl’s or Walmart purse.  Hey, I hate purses so why spend the bucks on a Coach bag?  Now, if you are in to trends and labels, I do mean to offend you in any way.  I am just using this to make a point.

A label “describes or identifies something or someone.”  Think about these labels “Methodist,” “Baptist,” “Non-denomination,” “Full Gospel,” etc.  What do these labels have in common?  They  identify a religious group. 

Of course, we also apply labels such as “selfish,” “rich,” “poor,” “happy,” “joyful,” intelligent,” etc to people.  We sometimes mislabel person before we really get to know them.  For example, a seemly stand-offish person may be actually very shy and timid.  Our children are faced with labels everyday as well.  Some children are labeled “hyper” when really they have a ton of energy.  I personally was labeled as “slow” by a teacher in the fourth grade because I was apparently struggling to read aloud.  After two weeks with a very caring reading assistant it was discovered that I was just shy.  I read on a very high level.  In fact I was reading on a high school level. 

What does the label “Christian” describe?  A person committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and who has given their heart to him.  They are loving, kind, gentle, self-controlled, etc.  However, we need to remember one thing.   Often a label is just a replica of the real thing.

I am talking about people who claim to be “Christians” but who have absolutely no clue that it means.  Oh, they say they believe in God but they also claim there are several ways to be saved.  I have had a people tell me that “all religions (Christian, Islam, Buddism, etc) lead to salvation?”  No, just because you claim to be a “Christian” doesn’t mean you are.   

As people in the ministry we fight a daily battle of “getting people lost before they can be saved.”  People believe that because they are a good person, give to charities, and treat all people with respect that they are “Christian.”  Our society has actually taught this philosophy.  If you are good then you are a Christian.  This is a lie straight from the pits of hell.

A Christian is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ.  They have been forgiven of their sins, washed new and clean by the blood of Jesus.  They are a new creation in Christ.  We should live each day with the hope and joy that Christ brings to our lives.  We should willing to live our lives in such a way that people will notice that something is different about us.  That is the description of a Christian.

Just like I want the real chocolate and not some cheap imitation, I want people to see the real Christ in me.  I want my life to so ooze with Jesus that people around me want to get a taste of the Living Water. 

As our dear sister and fellow Tennessee ministers’ wife, Rachel Lovinggood, said, “Christianity was never meant to be a label.  It is a lifestyle.”

So today I ask you my sweet sisters:  What style of Christianity are you wearing?  Is it real or is it an imitation?

No comments: