Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian or Christ Follower: Is there a difference?

The word "christian" gets thrown around a lot these days. Because of this, many who say they are Christians don't really live a life that is any different than anyone else. So maybe if we want to differentiate ourselves, we should say that we are Christ followers. But is there any difference?
The Greek word for Christian found in the New Testament is Christianos. It is a word that refers to those who were "adherents" to the ways of Jesus. It was actually first applied to the Gentiles (or the non-Jews) in the New Testament. Followers of Christ actually didn't give it to themselves, but it was spoken of them by others. It was a way that others would designate these people who gave themselves over to Christ.
There may be important understanding here. To be a Christian shouldn't be a title we give to ourselves, but what others say of us when they see our behavior. To be a Christian really should be the same as being a "Christ follower." As a Christ follower we should seek to act and live and think as Christ did. Our lives should be different enough from the world that others will notice our example and behavior.
Unfortunately, too many "Christians" are not Christ followers. They say they believe, they go to church, they talk the talk, but their lives do not match their words. They act too much like the world to be Christ followers.
How do you see the difference between those who say they are Christians and those who are truly following Christ? How can we be less concerned with calling ourselves Christians, and acting like Christ followers? I'd like to hear your thoughts.