I’ve been thinking about this question. It’s the sort of thing that I never get asked because the people around me either all consider themselves to be Christians our would never presume to approach the topic of religion – especially when it crosses from general areas of conversation to personal stories.
First though, we need to figure out the origin of that term, Acts 11:19-26, “19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
Lest we forget – Saul, soon to be known as Paul, had lent a helping hand in more ways than one when Stephen was stoned. Here we find out that the believers of The Way took to the road telling everybody they met about the good news of the gospel – there was one way to salvation – through belief in Jesus Christ. Here the grace of God went out to all – including Gentiles and Saul himself who spent a year here meeting with the early church. If you look at Galatians 2:11-21, you can see one incident that profoundly affected the early Christians who were still trying to figure out just what it meant to believe in Jesus Christ.
To be a Christian, to me, is to believe that one man died so I could live forever – and that He rose again so my death would be more of a temporary condition and not an everlasting one. It’s to believe that I belong to a tradition of people who have true hope in the most hopeless of times. It’s to believe that I shouldn’t put myself above the well-being of others. It’s to believe that as small as I am, I’m a precious daughter to God – whose love for me is as profound as the depths of the ocean and the heights of the mountains and the beauty of everything in-between.