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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Everything is French!

I love decorating and architecture. The modern style is industrial, but there's a lot of variety. "Shabby chic" means lots of frills in white and pink. And, there’s farmhouse, primitive, Midwestern, and French.

"French" can mean many styles. There’s a French style that’s mostly warm reds, black, and ochre tones. You can really tell it’s French, because you’ll find roosters—or fleurs de lis—on everything. Another French style is pale gray, urns, chippy paint, and lots and lots of white—with beautiful crystal chandeliers, even in the kitchen. Yet another French is colorful, with a sort of “Chagall goes to the Opéra Garnier” feel. You’ll see damask sofas in pinks and turquoises with large unframed pieces of modern art on the walls. I see “French blue” in every shade of blue imaginable. And, another French style is black and gold. It’s both rich and spare—glamorous.

What’s genuinely French?

Ask the French! Or better still, go to France and see for yourself. When I think French, I think of quaint villages of local stone. I think of slate or tile roofs. I think of outdoor dining with see-through fine linen tablecloths and wonderful-tasting, simple food. I remember the tastes and smells. I smell fresh bread, and in my mind’s eye, I pass a chocolate shop and go inside to inhale the scrumptiousness. I think of flowers, of architecture that's centuries old, ivy-covered walls, arched doorways, and cobblestoned streets. I think of rivers, bridges, tree-lined highways, and châteaux. I think of music. I hear women speaking in high voices, like twittering birds. I see men on ancient bicycles, peddling through towns. I watch children playing in a park while their elders roll boules.

What is French? I don’t know that you can box it up in a neat little package.

It’s the same with "Christian."

What is Christian? 

There are so many facets to "Christian." There are Christian bookstores. They sell everything from mugs with verses on them to knick-knacks, jewelry, and Bibles. They offer music, art, novels, and plastic communion cups. They feature evangelistic T-shirts and children’s DVDs. 

There are Christian concerts. The artists charge big fees and demand venues and lodgings. People pay upwards of $20 per seat to attend.

There are Christian billboards, dances, coffee shops, and theaters.


The word Christian was first used in a city called Antioch. (Acts 11:26) The term describes Jesus’ disciples. It means “follower of Christ.”

To follow Christ means to acknowledge Him. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). We trust Jesus and acknowledge Him when we call on Him to save us. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

To follow Christ means “to go after one who precedes.”* When Jesus asked His disciples to follow Him, he meant for them to do what they saw Him doing, to go where He went.

I’m still learning about Jesus. I’m finding out how He thinks, how He works, and where He wants me to go. The Christian life is getting to know Jesus. He said, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30).

Paul was a Christ-follower. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Peter said that we should follow Jesus in holiness. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2:21-25).

So, what is a Christian? He** is a person who knows the Lord and follows Him. He lives righteously and learns from the Bible how to grow in the Lord. This person is on a journey, and God is leading him. When he trips and falls, he looks to his Savior for help. When he doesn't know his way, he turns to his Leader and Shepherd. For everyday sustenance and life, he depends on God. As he walks, he looks around him and sees blessing and joy. He meets other pilgrims. He's encouraged by them, and on his way, he encourages others.

Christian? A Christ-follower.

Are you a Christian? Are you following Christ? 

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, 
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, 
and follow me (Luke 9:23).

* Online Bible.
** Masculine pronouns used in the generic sense.

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