For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
Last week a dear young sister in the Lord relayed to me how she had been accused of being a “total Christian” because of a video she shared on Facebook. I told her it was great that she should be identified that way, however, she felt insulted by the moniker. From her perspective, or by her definition, a “total Christian” is someone who is narrow-minded, intolerant, judgmental, and hateful. Well, that was a new one on me! I know of “Christians” that fit that description, but “total Christian” would not be an attribute I would ascribe to them.
Every true Christian should desire to be identified as a “total Christian.” Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). There should be something distinctive about our life-conduct (our “walk”) that marks us as different. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [“life-conduct”]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). The word “holy” means to be set apart, sanctified, dedicated or consecrated. It does not mean to be perfect. That would be impossible in our sinful flesh. So when we dedicate, or consecrate, our lives to Christ, there should be a marked distinction between us and the non-believing world. Our lives should be a “light” that others can see and be drawn to God. By the way, this is not something that is accomplished by any sort of contrived effort on our part; it only comes through submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The first followers of Christ to be labeled “Christians” were the believers of the church in Antioch (Acts 11:26). The appellation was a term of derision rather than panegyric. Their life conduct set them apart from “normal” people. They spoke differently. They presented a peaceful attitude when facing adverse circumstances. When abused by others, they responded in love rather than anger. Probably the strangest thing of all was that they considered a martyred Jew to be their God. Very weird! Perhaps today’s “total Christian” would fit right in with this group.
To be identified with Christ should not be the cause for same. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). The “total Christian” should care more about what Christ thinks of him than what the world thinks of him. “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17). So, when someone accuses you of being a “total Christian” and they mean it in a derogatory way, just remember the words of Jesus: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). Never be ashamed to be a “total Christian”!