What does it mean to be a Christ-follower?
Such a question creates a series of debates. Those on the left claim those on the right "aren't real Christians," and likewise, those on the right question the legitimacy of those on the left. Catholics dubbed Protestants the "estranged brethren" who meet in "eccliastical communities" (which aren't a part of the real Church nor are real churches). Protestants wonder if Catholics have drowned the gospel in a sea of Papal Encylicals, Dogma, and Sacramants.
The banner I'm choosing to wave is that "Christ followers are broken before God but unbending before the world." Those who come to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit believing that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) can be assured of God's mercies. As the great St. Augustine reminds us, “God
gives where he finds empty hands.” When we come broken before God, we find a God who loves to save.
But with brokenness, there must be a courage to not bend. If there is a God, a God known, and thus known through the written Scriptures, we must heed that voice above all others. We bow and bend before God and His Word, but we do not bow or bend to the influences of the world (Note: the Bible uses the term "world" to refer to the fallen, God-opposing, God-repellant culture that permeates every society, generation, and century.)
So, whether left, right, Protestant, or Catholic, can you cry out with me, "We're broken, but we won't bend."
Jesus says anyone can come, with any burden, for a rest that no one else can give. He also says that if we refuse to honor His name and Lordship before our earthly audiences, he will refuse to honor us before the heavenly audience.
Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 10:32-33 "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.