I recently heard one of the Republican candidates running for President described as a RINO: Republican In Name Only. In other words, although the individual was running on the Republican ticket, some in the party felt his positions fell short of a true representation of traditional Republication values. In fact, these critics were saying his voting record looked more like someone who was a Democratic.
So it goes in politics…
But the point made is an intriguing one: we can call ourselves one thing while, at the same time, behaving more like something else. We can call ourselves a “Christian” while looking quite unlike its founder, Jesus Christ.
So just what is a “Christian”?
Literally and simply stated, a Christ-ian is a follower of Christ. He or she may not look like much when they first start following Jesus but, over time, they mature into an ever closer reflection of their Elder Brother and Lord. But only if they truly follow and do what Jesus tells them to do.
Let me share with you an excerpt from Michael Phillips’ book, The Commands, in response to the question of what it means to follow Jesus.
Quite simply: To obey what he tells us to do, to do what he says, to think as he thinks, to respond as he responds, to love as he loves, to see people as he sees people them, to see God as he sees him, to pray as he prayed to lay down self-will as he laid down his self-will, to take his example into every decision, every response, every attitude, every conversation.
One might well despair of such an all-encompassing definition rightly acknowledging the distance between ourselves and Jesus Christ. Perhaps it will help if we read together the last two chapters of C.S. Lewis’s classic work, Mere Christianity, aptly titled Nice People or New Men, and, The New Men, respectively. For, if we follow Jesus, God intends to make us, like his Son, perfect. True Christ-ians.