My last name is “Bartel” – and growing up, my father would not let me forget it! He’d say to me, “Now son, behave yourself! Remember you’re a Bartel!” He had a reputation – our family was known and respected as followers of Jesus Christ in our community – and my dad and mom were determined to protect the name “Bartel” in our community. More than that though, they were determined to protect “the Name above every name” – the name of Jesus Christ – and the reputation of those who called themselves “Christians” in our community!
Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy and told him, “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you in case I am delayed, to let you know how people ought to conduct themselves (the English Standard Version translates it “Behave”) in the household of God, because it is the church of the living God, the support and bulwark of the truth. And we all agree, our religion contains this amazing revelation: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory!” (1 Timothy 3:14–16 NET)
As a “Bartel” I had a responsibility… But more than that, as a Christian – as a follower of Jesus in my community and culture, I have a responsibility. Christians are a part of the family of God! We claim to believe in, worship and serve “the Living God.” What we believe and practice we claim to be “the Truth” – in fact, we see ourselves as “the support and bulwark of truth” in our culture! We confess – we claim – to serve God, Who revealed Himself in human flesh and was validated by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. Angels knew Him personally. His Name was proclaimed among the nations, lives were transformed by belief in Him and after His resurrection from the dead He ascended back into Heaven. In light of those incredible realities, it seems to me (and it seemed to Apostle Paul) that we have a responsibility to “behave ourselves!” We’re “Christians” after all! We bear His name! I can almost hear my Heavenly Father say, “Now son, behave yourself!”