This is not something I’ve ever had to deal with before. You see, I was raised in a Christian household in a Christian neighborhood with Christian friends in a place where, at the time, it wasn’t bad to say “I’m a Christian” (though I am not sure Ann Arbor is a friendly place for that statement anymore). I’ve never had to adopt any new labels in my lifetime. No big changes in role or category that didn’t have to do with my age group. No religious changes really… Until now, that is.
I can’t exactly place when I started living a Messianic lifestyle. I had been curious about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith since the summer of 2004, but when did “Jewish roots” become “Messianic” anyway? When was the shift? And what does it matter?
Well the label matters to me somewhat because it separates me from a big part of my past. Being Messianic, no matter how you slice it, is different than being a normative “Christian”, even though the core beliefs are much the same. It’s as big a difference as Orthodox from Methodist… lifestyle is different, habits and points of views are different even though the belief in the saving grace of God through Messiah is the same…
It’s taken me months to become comfortable calling myself a Messianic. I don’t call myself a Messianic Jew because even though I am grafted into the olive tree of Israel, I am a gentile and will always be a gentile. I am not pretending to be Jewish nor do I think it would make me more special or even more cool if I was Jewish. Grace is the same for all of us. We are all one in Messiah. And the way we are called to live is the same for Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.
I’m happy to say that I am not ashamed of where God is leading me in my spiritual journey. I am not ashamed of my choice to obey the Holy One in any way He leads.
“His grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”