We are all described by labels.
Some labels define our place of birth (Texas), genealogy, political affiliation, gender, ethnicity (defined by culture), race (defined by biology)…and a whole host of others worded viewpoints.
We often take ownership of other labels that we chose to be part of, and to those labels we are often called disciples. Whether it is a singular point of view, or a grouping of ideologies, we are then disciples that want to repeat who we are in others – we want to make disciples. Followers, or adherents, to one set of beliefs, or another, and replicating that identity in others requires training and that process is called disciplining (making disciples).
As new ideas arise, we trade in one set of labels for others. Various political parties that have occupied the White House have had economical policies that were labeled with a few names I remember. Reaganomics. Nixonomics. Trickle Down. If I had time I could perhaps name others, off the top of my head…
The problem with most of these labels revolves around the idea that they are unproven in the beginning, and gain a level of success that is identified later in the process. This is why some can change their labels easily. Unsuccessful labels are quickly dropped.
The other aspect of labeling revolves around the concept of being a Practicing whatever, or simply a Believer. Actively believing generally means we pursue with a zeal those portions of the category, and understand that we need to replicate the label in others for generational growth.
Consider the label of Christianity. Even with a variety of change based upon timing and geography (and other factors), the label of a Christian has been around for 2,000 years. Or so. Thus, there are many bases on which this label has foundation.
Have you ever taken a moment on considering which label defines you? Are you mostly one identity or another? Within one label, can you drill down to smaller categories and narrow the focus on who you truly are? If that is possible, can you look at that larger view and declare yourself a disciple even if you cannot agree to all facets of the whole?
This is part of our problem.
Primarily, if we agree with one political party over the other, but the variety of pieces within the whole challenges us, then, do we vote for the party, or the man? Every label has the same problem!
Consider that Christian label. If you agree to the label as a whole, what do you do with the variety of pieces that fall within the category that you do not practice or believe?
Some came to Jesus desiring to be a follower. Jesus describes the life, and after seeing the sacrifice it required, one by one they made excuse and left. (Luke 9:57-62). Jesus summed up the concept of a follower as someone who forsakes family and all he has to be a follower (Luke 14:26-33). But there were some who dropped all they had and followed him unerringly. We call them Disciples, with a capital “D”. Examples and teachers of his ministry and purpose, they taught and made disciples for the generations of time to come.
And this is a very important label for me. To be a Disciple of Jesus. That’s a good label. To practice and live the label means that I am busy in replicating the knowledge in others for future generations.
Are you making disciples in something larger than you? Or do you simply make disciples of who you are without having a larger view than self… Just thinking…