by Bailey Smith

The Called or the Claimed
Bailey Smith

There is often a vast difference between what we claim to be and what others call us. Unfortunately, people believe what others say of us rather than what we say of ourselves. For instance, what if you were to ask me about the reputation of a particular man listed in the yellow pages as a carpenter? If I replied, "He calls himself a carpenter," you would look elsewhere. Or, if I were to ask you what you thought about a man with "Dr." in front of his name, and you said, "Do you prefer lilies or white roses at the service?" I would find another physician.

We are known by our services-our abilities, our traits. These describe us fairly accurately. Certainly they are a more reliable definition than we would give to ourselves. The question then comes to us who call ourselves Christians, "By what name would the world call us if they observed our way of life?" Would our CLAIM match their CALL?

The book of Acts says, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch"'- (Acts 1 :26). Note that it doesn't say, "They call themselves Christians." It says others called them that. If you want to claim that you are a Christian and would like the world to call you one as well, take a close look at Acts. You will find some good suggestions.

Illuminating the book of Acts like brilliant stars, are words that describe the early Christians as people of dynamic faith. You can read such phrases as "full of the Holy Spirit," "believing mightily," "speaking boldly," "greatly rejoicing," and galaxies of others, all of which indicate that those first century disciples never considered the word "timidity" and never forgot the word "excited." Their faith and commitment to the work of Christ was as obvious as the fact that they were alive.

Why didn't they claim to be Christians? Because everyone knew it. You don't walk up to someone and say, "Hello, I'm a man. What are you?" Nor do you say, "Go ...

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