In a number of my posts I refer to myself as a Christ follower or Jesus follower, and I got to asking myself why I prefer this over the term Christian.
Here goes …
Those who call themselves Christian may do it for various reasons. For some it may be that they have been baptised. Some may say that the country in which they live is Christian, so they are Christian too. For others it might be that they come from a “Christian family”. Others might call themselves Christian because they attend a church service.
There’s an old-ish saying which pops up in Christian circles every so often,
“Eating at McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger.”
Meeting with the church and calling myself a Christian is fine, if that is part of my daily journey of following Christ’s example and letting Him work through me. There is a difference between calling myself a footballer because I’m aware of the sport’s existence, or I watch it on TV or at a stadium, and actually playing the game. Football players give it their all. They are intimately involved. They come home from a match tired, sweaty, dirty and even bruised.
By using the phrase “Christ follower”, or “Jesus follower”, I guess what I am trying to do is give more accurate description of where I am coming from as a Christian. The term “Christ follower” or “Jesus follower” seems only to have cropped up fairly recently. I’m not really wanting to jump on a band wagon but I am trying to differentiate myself from the identities I mentioned earlier. I am trying convey the idea that, for me, Christianity is not something I passively observe. It’s something I am, something I do.
It’s not like I am having to remember to polish my halo before leaving the house. I don’t think I have one. Do I have some kind of saintly aura which brings peace to those around me? Not sure. If someone picks up my snot-rag, are they healed? Very much doubt it. When I look at myself I often just see a cranky husband and father-of-two working in a low-level tech support role and trying to make ends meet.
What makes me different to many other cranky husband-and-father-of-two’s in low level tech support roles is that I believe in Jesus. A lot. And I talk to Him. About, y’ know .. stuff. Sometimes I even sense Him whispering back.
And it’s this whispering back which makes me want to follow Him. It’s a quiet echo of the words he spoke 2000 years ago which are recorded in the bible.
“Come, follow me. I will make you a fisher of men. Go and tell the world about me. Heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead.”
This is where I’m coming from. I’ve not got any ready answers or formulas about what following Christ looks like. It’s rarely a physical journey, rather an emotional and spiritual one, and it’s because of this that I rely on these whisperings and hints as I live my life.
Our lives are made up of meeting people, and walking with them for a time. It’s in the moments when I meet someone that I find myself often trying to hear His whisper. Is there something I should say? Should I offer something of myself to them? It is in the answer to these questions that I find myself following Christ.