Am I a Hyphenated Christian?

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it,”  (Matthew 16:24-25).

Over the past fifty years or so, I’ve noticed a trend among married women. Rather than taking their husband’s last name, some simply add their husband’s name to their own, adjoining the two with a hyphen and keeping theirs intact. Mary Smith becomes Mary Smith-Jones. Betty James becomes Betty James-Riley.

Now I know there are a plethora of reasons for having a hyphenated last name. And I know there may be a multitude of opinions on the subject. I’m not here to voice an opinion about the trend itself, but I do have an opinion about how it mirrors the way many folks view their relationship with Jesus. Hyphenated Christians abound.

[tweetherder][/tweetherder]I have to ask myself, am I a hyphenated Christian? Have I simply tacked Jesus onto my already busy life? Have I tacked the title “Christian” onto the long list of words that describe who I am and what I believe? Is Jesus just another add-on? Is He an app I’ve downloaded for easy access? Have I taken on Jesus’ name to some extent, but kept my own identity unchanged? Jesus would have thought that preposterous. He said, “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” (John 14:20).

Becoming a Christian is serious business. It is an all or nothing proposition, and I fear we have watered it down to simply something we add on to our already busy lives. Jesus is not someone you add to your life. When you come to Him, He becomes your life.

C. S. Lewis notes the following about the Christian life:

Christ says, “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down…Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.” [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 169.]

Jesus warned those who were considering becoming one of His disciples. It was an all or nothing proposition. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it,” (Matthew 16:24-25).

Imagine if your husband proposed marriage to you with the following caveat: “Dear one, I love you and adore you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I promise to be faithful to you 360 days a year. But I do have this thing for blondes, and well, you are a brunette. So five days of the year, I’ll keep to myself. But the other 360 days, I’m all yours!”

I don’t know which cheek I’d slap first, the right or the left. But I do know that man’s ring would not go on my finger.

Making Jesus not only Savior, but also Lord of your life, involves a certain exclusivity that is somewhat similar to marriage, but unmistakably unique to any human relationship. The union involves our entire being and not one molecule goes unaffected. This relationship is all-exclusive, meaning that it excludes every other possible “god” that you could place upon the throne of your life, and it is all-inclusive, meaning there is no part of your life in which Jesus does not rule. When true union takes place a certain sweetness flavors all of life.

Let’s Pray

Lord, please forgive me for acting like a hyphenated Christian who has simply tacked you on to my busy life. I want You to have all of me. All of me. All of me.In  Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 What Do You Think?

I’m thinking that you’re thinking. So I’m not going to give you any extra questions…just one. Ask yourself…Am I a hyphenated Christian?

 Want More? 

When you come to Christ, you are a brand new creation. Hmmm then why don’t we act like it? It could be that we don’t always understand Who we are, What we have, and Where we are as a child of God. If you would like to learn more about your new identity in Christ and how to live in victory as a child of the King, then my book Becoming Spiritually Beautiful is the book for you. Friend, there is no one more beautiful than a woman with a confident heart.

10 Responses to Am I a Hyphenated Christian?

  1. Caroline September 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Convicted! Thank you…I needed to be reminded of this!

  2. Nancy Beneteau September 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    well I’d love to say yes I am but I’m sure there are many areas where no I”m not. I am in a constant struggle because I want to grow in my relationship with the Lord, which I’m doing, however letting go of my old life is not easy. I have a husband who believes God exists but that’s as far as he goes. He thinks I’m brainwashed in a negative way and is angry with the Lord for taking his mother 13 years ago. He refuses to see the beauty in life. It causes me alot of frustration. But I have given him to the Lord. I’ve asked the Lord to take him over. I don’t know what else to do. As for myself, I start my day with the Lord and repent for the previous days sins, ask him direction and do my best to not slip up. My day can get hectic quickly as I have 5 preschoolers during the day when my sons are at school. I can feel the Lord reminding me all day long where I need to go when things get out of hand. So I guess I could be hyphenated at times but that’s where I’m glad God has alot of forgivness and grace for us. I’m so amazed I’ve gotten this far in life without knowing Christ. what was i thinking.

  3. Zernah September 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    It has only been recently that I have come to understand why God wants our ALL. When we only give parts of ourselves to Him, we go nowhere. We may appear to be going somewhere, doing something but, really, we’re just going around in circles. There’s no life, no power, no destiny. Having Him, His will, His life in my life has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and my family. I have come to know where I am going… and I am taking my family with me.

  4. Sophie B September 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Well this is why women need to establish a firm and solid relationship with Jesus Christ, before pursuing marriages, job promotions, and even having children. As it is with marriage, so it is with our relationship with Christ. Until you are complete in yourself, knowing who you are, and understanding your true identity then you will have difficulties in all relationships throughout your life.

  5. Pam September 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    This is so awesome it is what I have shared with my daughters, our relationship with God is like unto our relationship with our husbands. When married would you have a great marriage if you only gave your husband a small amount of your life and time? Not. So why only give God a small portion of your life and time. God wants it all .
    . Thanks for this awesome devotional!

  6. Keri Sweet September 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    My Psalm regarding this very subject……

    I have searched for you,
    a child lost in the forest.
    I have called out,
    my voice eclipsed by shame.
    I have remained in the shadows,
    fearing to step into the Son.
    I cool the resurgence of my desires within your waters
    whilst my foot remains buried in the earth.
    When I find myself with head bowed,
    what will the stillness of the pool reflect?
    Will the skimming stone of my heart
    obscure the knowledge contained in His image?
    As the living water continues to ebb and flow,
    I have become paralyzed, stagnant.
    There has been no rippling current
    within my soul.
    The fragrance of Your good fruit
    ripens upon the highest branches.
    I scavenge amongst the fallen leaves of my wilderness
    gathering unsavory imitations of your harvest.
    Your canopy is grace,
    lovingly woven branches whispering to heaven.
    Your faithfulness is carried along the breeze
    gently soothing this weary traveler.
    Your shelter is provided
    within the confines of your mighty roots.
    Scorching heat nor driving rain
    cannot penetrate this refuge.
    I want to dig expectantly,
    hungry for the treasures that lay at the foot of your tree.

    Your water quenches,
    Your fruit sustains,
    Your shelter protects.

    No longer shall I remain a nomad,
    wandering without my compass
    A pauper,
    stealing its bread.
    The path I seek has always been waiting
    in the manner in which I dig,
    Time is of no consequence,
    yet the hour has struck
    The narrow gate remains unlocked
    For my heart is it’s key.

  7. Esther September 20, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Oh I praise the Lord He is the owner of my heart. The light of my soul, the roots that sustain my life in the soil of my blessing. HE IS EVERYTHING TO ME. Our lives can’t be compartamentalized. We can’t just look at God as a part of our being but the reason of it. Sharon, I thank the Lord for your life and for making you a part of the healing process in my life and the lives of many other women, as well as the instrument God uses to inspire us into a constant search of intimacy with Him. GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS.

  8. Tricia September 24, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Dear Sharon and my Sisters in Christ, Just read todays devotional. Today’s Truth
    He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught, (Isaiah 50:4). after surrendering my alcolhol addiction after 37 years of using as a believer. My heart is flooded with His Grace. I am crying alot and yet He is giving me joy in my sorrow. The love the Father is lavishing on me is amazing. He has been waking me up at weeeee hours. People ask why are you getting up so early? My response was, God and maybe a little pre menapause too but hey I’m going with it. But the time is with Him. I pray, I write and I read. His word brings life to those dead places. I knew the words before but the difference is I believe them now. I turned to Him when I was undone and am pursuing Him and resting in Him now. I sought affirmation and approval from people, tried to get that big old wound fixed by what only He can do. I ran from God, His people and my true self. When I was undone, like the prodical, He IMMEDIATELY came running to me, lavishing me with His love and mercy and grace! ME! I always felt forgotten, insignificant, unheard. YOu see it is so big yet soooooo personal. I do have a testimony and a purpose. I want to be about my Fathers business now and He said, cmon Trish we have a world of people that I love. I want to wash feet, wherever He sends me. Just wanted to share that this morning. Maybe to encourage someone else, that has isolated and feels that no one else cares. I love you and will see you soon! YOur sister in Detroit, Tricia

  9. Rose September 24, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Making TIME For Beauty made me weep this moring. I am a teacher in a poor appalachian school. Lately I ask where is God. I am hurried to get everything done, meet the needs of the children there and administration, etc. I feel there must be something more.

  10. Cindy September 24, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Good Morning, May God continue to bless you. Thank you for your devotionals they are wonderful and really help me on my daily walk with Giod.

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