Faith labels—what they are and why they matter

“What do I believe? Oh, I’m a….”

Faith labels are short-cuts to explain our relationship with God.

But to me, what’s more telling is how I describe myself in relationship with Jesus. Do I call myself a Christian, follower of Jesus, disciple of Christ or something else entirely?

Being a Christian is professing belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. As a Bible-believer, that label works. Being a follower of Jesus means supporting and being guided by Him. I’ve asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life, so this label seems to fit, too. Being a disciple of Christ means accepting and spreading Jesus’ teachings. This label works if looking up verses online is considered knowledge of His teachings and if wearing an “I am second” bracelet and posting socially about church count as evangelizing.

These labels seem to be a progression. And I’m still working on the last one. Yet it feels like something is missing from these popular labels. Belief, check. Trust, check. Faith-inspired actions, check. Maybe what’s missing is love. And love is huge. So huge that God’s great love for us is the whole reason for Jesus’ mission.

John 15
13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.

A friend of Jesus. Now that sounds good. Friendship is a special relationship. It’s knowing each other intimately and regularly spending time together. It’s standing up for each other. It makes life better and, if we’re with the right kind of friend, it even makes us better.

Friendship is a two-way street.

Reading For the Love, does not make me friends with Jen Hatmaker. But her words tell me a lot about her, and I’m convinced if we lived in the same town, we would, in fact, be friends. It’s the same with Jesus. Picking up a Bible doesn’t make you best buds with Jesus, but it’s definitely a great way to learn more about his heart for people, so keep on reading. He’ll meet you where you are.

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