What's Your Name?

9/11.  The Holocaust.  Katrina.  William & Kate.  The Civil War.

Titles are powerful.  You just proved it, whether you know it or not.  Chances are, when you read that short list of names, a flood of images rushed through your mind.  Why?  Because titles are descriptors.  They help to establish identity.  One or two words can encapsulate entire movements, wars, natural disasters, and actions of men.

I live in New Orleans.  Down here when people say "The Storm," there's no question as to which 'storm' they're referring to.  And that's because Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans.  It changed life for everyone down here.

I also live on planet Earth.  Say the word "Christian" anywhere in our world, and the reaction you'll receive could be anything from overwhelming joy to inconceivable violence.  Why?  Because over centuries of existence, followers of Christ have both represented and (unfortunately) misrepresented what it truly means to live as a new creation in Christ.  Even if we're 'doing everything right,' we must still understand that the Truth will always be offensive to some.  Jesus said (in Matthew 10:22) that we would be hated because we belong to Him.

How favorable for us, then, that the early Christians were so exemplary in the face of such opposition.  Even amidst the pushback and resistance to the imminent regime change, the Jewish leaders gave the disciples the title of "the men who have turned the world upside down." (Acts 17:6)  That's an incredible name to bear!

Paul.  Peter.  Stephen.  John.  See, you've done it again.  You've associated the actions of these men with their names.  It's no different for us.  People view us in the same way.

It won't happen overnight, but by exercising an apologetic attitude and demonstrating acts of service and love, we have a chance to rectify, repair, and reverse the negative perception of 'believers' that exists.

A good tree produces succulent, delicious fruit and a bad tree produces rotten, blemished fruit.  Let's be known for boughs and branches that are weighed down by a bountiful, life-giving harvest...a true representation of the new life offered by salvation in Christ.

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