Why do I find it so much easier to call myself a Christian than to call myself a “follower of Christ”?
I realize that the term “Christian” came later. Acts 11:26 tells us that it originated in Antioch and was applied to “disciples” anyone who followed Christ. So back in the day, a person first became a “disciple” and later a Christian.
It is the opposite today. We become Christians and then maybe, if we really like it, . . . disciples. Peter, James and John were disciples the minute they dropped their nets. I was in a discipleship process a long time before I became a Christian. God was working in my life and heart, drawing me to the place where I could trust Him with my past, my present and my future. I have never been “out of process” in my spiritual life.
I don’t ever want to get “out of process”. In “process” there is no pride, no sense of superiority over others. There is no need to superimpose my particular, opinions, outlook, interpretation of scripture as if I had it all figured out. When you figure it all out, you are “out of process”. If you feel you are there, check your pulse, . . . you are probably dead.
The name “Christian” is noble because it is related to Christ. It is somewhat “easy” today to call yourself a Christian because in the modern mind it is largely a system of ignored belief, an incredibly well established religion.
When I call myself a follower of Christ, I am not telling people what I believe, I am telling them about my intention and my practice. I am inviting people to measure my life by what they know of Christ not by what they know of religious norms and stereotypes. I am always better off comparing myself to mediocrity than the Master.
I am no more or less perfect than any other disciple before me. I struggle to follow as the twelve struggled to follow Christ in the flesh. And regardless of how good a performance I put in on a given day, I purpose to get up the next day or the next moment and stumble along behind Him because following implies that He is out front, . . . that He is leading me, . . . that I watch to see which way He turns and I take the same direction.
It is the most wonderful experience in the world for Christ to be my righteousness. As we point people Christ-ward, there is a power that is released for people can never truly see Christ and remain ambivalent. Indecision is to rebel and reject and people know it when they turn away from Him.
They can leave your church or your fellowship and disguise indifference in a thousand different ways . . . all the things that they didn’t like or the ways that you may have failed to meet their needs. But they cannot walk away from Christ and blame anyone or anything but themselves.