In Name Only


During my freshman year at college, I was invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, which is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. At the time, I was very flattered and quickly accepted their invitation knowing that a honor like this looks great on a resumé. The honor society held monthly meetings, offered guest lecturer events, and hosted many social gatherings. Once I was inducted, I hardly ever attended these events, unless of course there was free food. I was too busy doing the things that I wanted to do and never made their events a priority. I am ashamed to confess that I only joined because of the benefit that it would provide me during my job hunting days. I was, in fact, a member in name only.

You may be laughing at me right now, but we have all done this. We’ve joined some organization, club, or group just because we wanted the benefits of being associated with them, but didn’t want to make a true commitment. Unfortunately, some people are Christians in name only, too.

If you ask them what their faith is, they will proudly declare that they are Christians. They have accepted Christ’s invitation for salvation, but neglect to move past this initial step. Sure, they may go to church occasionally and toss up a prayer from time to time, but that’s pretty much where it ends.

Interestingly, a recent poll suggests that nearly 80% of people living in the United States consider themselves Christians. I must admit that this number seems high to me considering morality is at an all time low. You see, having a relationship with Christ requires more than identifying yourself as a Christian. It involves allowing Christ to rule in your heart and, by His grace, turning away from the sinful nature and living a life that glorifies Him.

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. . . .You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." – Colossians 3:5-10

Ladies, I am not here to judge or question anyone’s authenticity with the Lord. What I want to do is encourage each of us to ask ourselves some hard questions. Are we really living our life for Christ? Are we standing up for the things of God and turning away from sin, even when culture says it is ok? Are our hearts set on things above? We need to decide if we are really one of Christ’s own, or simply a Christian in name only?

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  Colossians 3:1-2