(The following is the May 21 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Acts 11 and pay close attention to verse 26.)
Even though we know “the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” (v. 26), historians are not confident of the reason. The connection with Christ’s name is obvious, but scholars debate whether the name was complimentary or derogatory. Regardless, the early Christians were identified and named.
If you ask others to describe you, what words might they use? For example, I am a husband, father, son, grandfather, friend, writer, Kentuckian, American, University of Kentucky fan, college graduate, seminary graduate, teacher, speaker, dog lover, introvert, church member, conservative, advocate for my favorite soft drink (Ale-8-One), book lover, eater of all things spicy, somewhat skinny, former associate pastor, and more. And I am a Christian. So if I ask people who know me well to describe me in a few words, which will they use? How will their descriptors vary from those less acquainted with me? Does thinking of me bring a smile to their face or cause them to roll their eyes in annoyance? Will anyone put “Christian” on their list?
Believers ought to live so that the name Christian is one of the first things people think of when we come to mind. If we represent our Lord well, their thought of us should also bring respect, appreciation, and admiration for the Christ we serve and his bride, the church.
One word of caution: Just as people in Antioch may have called Christians mockingly, we, too, may be mocked as Christ’s followers. Even so, let it be clear to all that we belong to Jesus, and living for him is the greatest joy of our lives.
Ask a few people to describe you in five words or less. Include those who know you well and some who are not as close. Post the question on social media. Write down the responses. What is your reaction to their descriptions of you? Was “Christian” a frequent answer?