We take pride in the names we wear. Our family names serve as a form of heritage and pride. Those names earn a reputation and reflects upon others in our family. The same is true of our name as Christian. Like we can bring honor or shame to our physical family, our conduct reflects upon other Christians and on Christ, the head of our family. Some family names are honored or scorned for their places in history. What reputation are we building for our spiritual name?
In Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and I Peter 4:16, we find the only places where the term Christian is used in the scriptures, identifying those who are followers of Christ. It’s a name that brings great responsibility. It is part of our identity, and it defines the relationship we should have with Jesus. We should, therefore, be glorifying the name of our Father in our conduct. It’s easy to wear the name of Christian while our actions belie the claim – wearing the name for its secular benefits. We can contradict our own claims, invalidating the message of Christ, while we disregard His examples and teachings in our lives.
Wearing the Name of Chris
We cannot wear our name half-heartedly. We cannot wear this name without submitting to and following Christ’s name. It’s more than being a member of a church. Matthew 7:13-14 calls on us to be careful of our spiritual path, striving for the road chosen by few. The paths we choose can help create a good reputation or a poor one for fellow Christians. There are many names we honor, but the name of Christian is the greatest we could hope to wear. Isaiah 56:5 speaks of a name better than a family name – one that will last forever. Also, in Isaiah 62:2, the prophet says all will wear an name granted by their Lord.
We need to recognize the distinction of our spiritual name. We need to understand the meaning behind that name as those in Acts 5:41 who counted it joy to be persecuted for the sake of Christ’s name. We can never forget who we are when we are at home or when we are around others.
It is a name that is blessed when worn properly. This means we live, follow, and serve Christ in all we do. Matthew 6:33 calls on us to seek Christ first, and Matthew 7:11 reminds us that our Father blesses those who follow Him. In James 1:17, we read that all perfect gifts come from above. We are blessed among our Christian family, but the spiritual blessings, like those found in Ephesians 1:3, are the greatest. Forgiveness, redemption, the gift of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s mediation, eternal rest – these are an inheritance associated with our name that none can steal away. Jesus, in John 14:3, promises He prepares a place for those who wear come to Him.
We are taught we take Christ’s name on when we submit to His will and we continue in His word after our conversion. Taking on His name is a great responsibility; it’s a lifetime work of service. We should be servants, examples, walking the way our Savior has shown us. It takes care and responsibility as a disciple. It takes diligence to develop self control and restraining our selfish desires and impulses. Ecclesiastes 12:13 reminds us that following our God is our all.
Living to a Standard
Romans 15:1, I Corinthians 3:1, Revelation 3:15, Ephesians 4:14-16 – these verses are a sampling of those that describe the maturity toward which we should be working as Christians. There is a difference between calling ourselves Christians and acting like it. Are we living the name we wear, or do we shame the name of Christ when influenced by the world? We need to be self-reflective in our conduct – our treatment of others, our speech, our general conduct. When our real selves come out, we should be revealed to truly be Christ-like in our attitudes and the decisions we make in every setting.
Our actions can either lift up or bring down our family names. We build a reputation around ourselves, and our conduct also reflects back on Jesus. Even when we post things online, we are showing who we are and what’s important to us. We should be wearing Christ’s name with honor at all times. How would He respond to a waiter or waitress in a restaurant? How would He treat someone who cuts us off in traffic? How would He treat someone who disagrees with Him? We need to be aware of our actions in comparison to those of Jesus.
Am I involved in my service to Christ? Am I restraining from engaging negativity in the world? Am I honoring my name at all times? Do others know I am a Christ follower by the good influence I have. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus describes us as good salt, as a city on a hill, as lamp-stands in a dark house, as lights to the world. What do others see in us? What name is reflected in our words and actions? Do we honor the name we wear?
lesson by Mark Ritter