I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Romans 1:16 (CEV)

All of us want to be a part of something really big. That’s why we line the streets to cheer for our champions; to be a part of a protest rally; to join in a big race. It’s all because we want to be able to say, “I was part of that!”

One of the reasons we all have this desire to be part of something ‘big’ is that we are all born with a desire to make a difference. We make a difference by changing lives, defeating an enemy or solving a problem. When we do that we can take pride in ourselves for our accomplishments or the accomplishments of our group.

Paul testifies in his letter to the Romans that he’s proud to be part of the gospel message. Some translations put the words “I am not ashamed” but I sort of like the Contemporary English Version’s rendition of the verse. “I’m proud of the good news…”

This phrase gives the verse a meaning I hadn’t thought of before, and in reading it I have to ask myself, “Am I really PROUD to be a follower of Christ?” When I ask myself that question the obvious, quick answer is, yes, of course. But then I think of what it really means to be proud of something I’m a part of.

When I’m proud of the group I’m in I would never to anything to hinder the success of that group. Ah. There’s a problem hidden deep within that. How many times do I hide my prayer of thanks for the food I’m eating because I’m in a school lunch room, a restraint or with someone I know is a non-believer.

How often am I short with someone who is inept at their job, pushy or arrogant?

How many times do my words, my attitudes and my reactions to others bring embarrassment to ‘the cause’?

How often have I failed to speak up for Jesus because I don’t want to be ridiculed or considered some religious nut?

I don’t agree with every social action group out there, but I admire their pride in their cause. Even if they are what we may consider some fringe group, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind about their cause. They aren’t afraid to make the plight of some life form or the destructive action of a political system of government action known to the public.

So, I wonder. How would the world be different if we as Christ-followers took the position in our daily lives that said, “HEY, I’m a follower of Christ? Do you know what he’s done for us? Do you realize how he changed me and how he can change you? He’s not concerned about your past, your present or your cultural or religious background. He won’t judge your lifestyle. He’s about healing relationships! He’s awesome.”

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you for all you have done for me and for the promises I have of life with you. I confess to you that there are times I feel weighed down trying to live the Christian life. There are times I’ve not taken the pride in my faith like I should. Empower me with your Spirit to live the life I live for you with pride. Remind me on a daily basis that I’m part of a group that changes lives for eternity. In your name, Amen.

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