Man praying with BibleWhen you tell others that you’re a Christian, what do they think you mean? To some it means you’re religious or conservative. Some may assume you’re self-righteous or judgmental. Hopefully, to many it means you are a follower of Jesus, not perfect, but forgiven. Interestingly, the name “Christians” occurs only a few times in the Bible. In Acts 11:26 we read, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” A Christian is a disciple or a follower of Jesus. Unfortunately, the name “Christian” today means everything and nothing to most people. I’m not suggesting we abandon the term, but we might find more understanding from others if we call ourselves “followers of Jesus.”

I came across the following poem that may help clarify what the name “Christian” really means:

When I Say

When I say… I am a Christian I’m not shouting I am saved.
I’m whispering I get lost. That is why I chose this way…

When I Say… I am a Christian I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need God to be my guide.

When I say… I am a Christian I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I am weak and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say… I am a Christian I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and cannot ever repay the debt.

When I say… I am a Christian I’m not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are too visible, but God believes I’m worth it.

When I say… I am a Christian I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches. Which is why I seek His name.

When I say… I am a Christian I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority. I only know I am Loved.

Author unknown

When we say that we’re Christians, let’s show the world humility and grace. Let’s show them the love of Christ by the way we live and treat others. And above all, let’s draw attention to Jesus Christ and not to ourselves.

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:4–10

Personal Application

  • How do people around you know that you are a follower of Jesus? What evidence do they have?
  • What adjustments to your life and speech would make it more evident to others that you follow Jesus?

Jim Grassi image and signature  Jim Grassi, D. Min.

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5