Christians can be found in almost every nation and in every occupation. Some are more open than others about their faith in Jesus, and some are afraid to speak because of their neighbors and coworkers. They are concerned that if they identify first and foremost as Christians, they will be labeled fanatical or crazy. If they work in Hollywood, they are convinced that they will be blacklisted, and will be offered no meaningful roles.
When I was a youth leader, a top 10 selling singer received Jesus as his Lord. He made a couple of Christian albums which were highly successful, and was accepted as a Christian role model. He then returned to secular music, and enjoyed a long career. I remember a statement he made when he refocused his career on entertainment. It was “I am an entertainer that happens to be a Christian, not a Christian entertainer. It was certainly his right to identify himself in any way he saw fit, but it gave me pause for reflection.
I had forgotten about his statement until an actress in a recent faith-based” movie stated that she was not a Christian actor, but an actor who happened to be a Christian. She said she did not take roles in “faith-based” or “Christian” films because she did not want to be identified as a Christian actor. I do not know her personally, nor am I capable of passing judgment on her choices. That is not my right nor anyone else’s. I just wonder what the statement “I am not a Christian actor, but an actor that happens to be a Christian really means.
I have spent many years in business as well as ministry. It never crossed my mind to state “I am not a Christian businessman, I’m just a businessman who happens to be a Christian.” Becoming a Christian is not happenstance. A decision must be made to be born again, and accept Jesus as Savior AND Lord. Christianity is not a one-time experience by which we punch our tickets for heaven. It’s not about the church we attend. Knowing Jesus saves, and living a life under His Lordship are two entirely different things. Jesus addressed this by saying in Luke 6:46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?
The first Century believers were called Christians by others in society who wished to denigrate and dismiss them. The new believers happily accepted this label, which means “little Christ”. Everyone knew they were Christians because of their lifestyle, and they were not ashamed or afraid to be known as Christians. Their words and actions identified them as Christians, even though it might cost them their lives. Jesus said ” Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matt 7:20-21)
I am convinced that heaven will be populated with Christian Doctors, Christian Janitors, Christian Farmers, Christian Policemen, Christian Mothers, Christian Salespeople, and others of every profession who have decided to be first and foremost CHRISTIANS. As for me, I have decided: I am a Christian who happens to be a Christian!