Along with fire ants, mosquitos, and ticks—army worms moved up my list of disgusting creatures this past week when they invaded my lawn. It is amazing how a one-word adjective can be so descriptive in identifying its object. Like an army, these hungry, little pests marched through our yard, leaving behind a wake of destruction. But, there are other types of worms not so identified: earth worms, tape worms and hook worms.
Similarly, anyone who has inadvertently stood for long in a nest of fire ants can attest to the appropriateness of that name. But, there are also red ants, black ants, carpenter ants and, even, crazy ants. Each identifies a different kind of ant.
“Christian” stands alone as a name identifying us as those who belong to Christ. Scripture tells us “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). “Christian” is the “new name” prophetically designated by “the mouth of the Lord” (Is. 62:2). “Christ” is the only name “by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Anyone who “suffers as a Christian” ought “not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in [that] name” (1 Pet. 4:16).
But, there are frequently-attached, one-word adjectives, used to describe Christians. An “unfaithful” Christian is one who is disloyal to Christ, no longer honoring Him as Lord and King. The wake of destruction left behind is often immense in terms of lost influence and dishonor brought upon the name of the church.
On the other hand, we cannot over-estimate the value of one “faithful” Christian. The impact of a faithful Christian lives on even after he or she has departed from this life. John heard a loud voice from heaven, saying, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on…so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them” (Rev. 14:13).
Of all the terms which may be used to describe a Christian, “faithful” may be the most cherished. For, in that word, we find encapsulated the whole of what it means to belong to Jesus. Even in uncertain times, do not be afraid; but “Be faithful until death” and Christ will give us “the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).