Recently quite a number of folks have been saying that the labels around Christians such as: “born again,” “Evangelical,” “Orthodox,” and even “Christian” have been so watered down that they have ceased to have value. I wonder if this is true? Is it truly the label that has been watered down; or something else? Labels are only useful if there is a defined and agreed upon content that a subject understands when the label is communicated, for example, "peanut butter." Different brands but the same basic content. We all have a generalized shared concept, around the Western world, of what to expect when we open the jar (peanut butter is actually difficult to find in other countries). I think perhaps the problem, primarily in Western Christendom, is that the "Jesus content" is missing or almost completely watered down in so many who attach those labels to their own life.
By "Jesus content" I am referencing two primary things: a. the real and living presence of God within us i.e.“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." b. the way of being that Jesus described as typical of those who would follow him - often referenced by the ancients as "virtue." Perhaps if this was the content that was filling our "jars" - this treasure of Jesus that produces virtue, there would be no need for a label because it could easily be recognized from a distance.
I wonder if the problem is not that labels have been watered down and become meaningless but that labels in Christendom are shorthand for a language we no longer share with our world, because our lives are without Jesus content.
I think we begin to put content back in our lives in a rather simple way: loving Jesus by keeping His word.