How to Separate the Disciple From the Christian
Much discussion has occurred lately on the flaws of Christians and how many of us behave towards others.
People fly under the label of being ‘Christian’ as if it is an excuse to behave poorly. They have become judge and jury for those that step out of alignment with their beliefs. Holding themselves to a set of laws that were written thousands of years ago and adapted them to meet their needs and to be able to admonish others while condoning their own behavior.
I recently listened to the first two parts of an ongoing podcast series by Andy Stanley. The podcast titled ‘Christian:Brand Recognition‘ tugged at my own heart. Over the past several months I have had an internal debate that at times has been vocalized. Feeling frustrated with my Christian brethren that claim to be disciples yet did not behave ‘Christian.’
A bit disenfranchised with the behavior of Christians as of late, I began to wonder. How can people who call themselves Christians be so hateful? We have become judgmental, homophobic and sometimes even worse. Standing high on our pillars we cast a disparaging eye on those that don’t meet our expectations.
I frequently am reminded of the quote attributed to Ghandi many years ago “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” These are powerful words spoken about a people who claim to be followers of Christ.
Is this really what being a Christian is supposed to be about? Maybe I am not so much a Christian as I hoped to be?
When I listened to the first episode of Andy’s podcast I nearly wept. Here was an explanation of what I had been feeling. The divide between being a Christian and a disciple.
Andy references the Bible in which the term “christian” was only used three times. Each of the three times they were derogatory labels placed on followers of Christ rather than a badge of honor. As followers of Christ, just as the original 12 disciples, we must choose a life of service and to not be afraid in doing so. While some Christians may not understand this way of life, maybe by seeing the way we live as disciples, they will find the truth and the light in each of us.
If I would have to choose between being a Christian and being a disciple , a disciple is what I would rather be considered. Living a life of service out of the love in our hearts for one another. Abiding by the New Testament where we received the ‘New Commandment”. When we are able to live out our lives based on the final ‘new’ commandment even more so than the original ten.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love on e another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Imagine a world where eye to eye you unconditionally love your brother. To love in such a way that people will be in awe and drawn in to see how we love. They will want to be a part of who you are, brought to the edge of their own mortality, hoping to be Christ-like, like you.
How about you? Which would you rather be ?
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.