Sometimes it feels good to be labeled. Top company producer, Olympic gold medalist and mom are all some of the labels that bring instant pride and satisfaction. Every now and again everyone likes to be recognized and appreciated. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rewarding good work or efforts. We like those kind of labels. Some labels, however, cause instant irritation or anger such as fat girl, freckle face, shorty….This is because we associate our identity with labels either self-imposed or bestowed by others. Other labels that identify race or color are not welcome in conversation because they are symbols of hatred and isolation. What about being called a Jesus Freak though? Would it embarrass you or make you feel politically incorrect? What actions would it take to make you a Jesus Freak? Would you be considered for one if you are just a nice person or maybe someone who doesn’t hang out with the partiers of the crowd? Do you have to go to church for someone to think you are a Jesus Freak? What if, are you ready for this, you read your Bible in public? Certainly that qualifies you for that title. Is this a label you would wear in secret or would you wear it proudly?
I have often wondered, especially when I see recent headlines, if I had been born in Communist China or one of the countries controlled by Islam, would it be easier for me to be a Christian? Sometimes it’s easier to choose a side when the line is clearly drawn and the choices are black and white. I am so thankful to be an American. There is so much opportunity and freedom here that we could never experience anywhere else in the world. I am proud of my citizenship and the men who gave me the right to go where I want, live how I please and worship freely, but sometimes I think that maybe I might be a stronger Christian if I had to follow Christ under the chance of persecution. The ability to read our Bibles and sing songs of praise to our Creator is so easy, maybe too easy, that we take it for granted. Are we wasting our opportunity to learn about Jesus and know Him in a way that so many across the world would love to have? How many Christians in America have to meet in secret for Bible study so that they are not arrested or tortured? How many Christians here have to smuggle pieces of the Bible across town so that little by little they can build a Bible. Have you heard about anyone in America lately being gunned down for their beliefs? No? Neither have I but I bet you have heard of Saeed Abedini, the 33 year old Idaho pastor who is being held in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/05/22/prayers-from-prison-american-pastor-held-in-iran-releases-letter/
Countries around the world from Pakistan to China to India to Russia make it a capital offense to worship Christ yet those Christians are on fire for Him. We have it so easy and we hide in the country. What’s wrong with that picture?
If you have a chance, pick up the book Jesus Freaks http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Freaks-Stories-Those-Ultimate/dp/1577780728 It is the compilation of stories of a new generation of Christians who live what they believe, stories of persecution – past and present. Read this book and then decide. Decide Who you will serve because by not taking sides, you have decided. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile,” Romans 1:16.