Friday, December 28, 2012
I'm Not a Fan. How About You?
"Jesus has a lot of fans these days. Fans who cheer for him when things are going well, but who walk away when it's a difficult season. Fans who sit safely in the stands cheering, but they know nothing of the sacrifice and pain on the field. Fans of Jesus who know all about him, but they don't know him. But Jesus was never interested in having fans. When he defines what kind of relationship he wants, "Enthusiastic Admirer" isn't an option. My concern is that many of our churches in America have gone from being sanctuaries to becoming stadiums, and every week all the fans come to the stadium where they cheer for Jesus but have no interest in truly following him. The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren't actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all of the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them." - author Kyle Idleman
Wow. Talk about a slap in the face. When I was reading the book I would think, "Well of course I am a follower, not just a fan. C'mon, I go to church twice a week, I was baptized in the 7th grade, I own several Bibles, I don't cuss, I don't watch R-rated movies, I give to others, I tithe, and my Facebook status says that 'my best friend was born in a manger' under my "Religious Views". For cry'n-out-loud I am even in the Church directory. Not to mention, I even worked on the church staff for a year and a half." There is no doubt that I am following. The question then is--am I following Jesus or just religious rules and rituals? As I read further into the book I discovered that it would indeed be easier to just be a fan of Jesus, than an actual dedicated follower. In other words, it is easier to go through the spiritual motions than it is to give all of yourself, heart and soul. Unfortunately, going through the motions doesn't make the cut. That means doing all of the above mentioned things, not because I feel like that's what I should do, rather because it is what I want to do. Fans of Jesus find themselves exhausted, trying to maintain an outer appearance that doesn't line up with their heart. Fans are all about the "do", whereas followers celebrate the already "done". It's about making decisions, choices, and sacrifices in your everyday life that may cause you to change courses completely, lose friends and maybe even some family. Being a true follower of Christ is putting yourself second and being completely open to the plans God has in store for you, no matter the cost. Can you imagine what the next generation would look like, if they would teach such philosophy in the schools today? Utterly life changing.
Quite often we as Christians try to make following Jesus as appealing, comfortable, and convenient as possible. We cheapen the gospel, thus cheapening Christ too. We showcase the hyped-up package deal, and forget to emphasize the raw dedication, repentance, and surrender that is involved in being a true follower. In other words, people around you are not left wondering if you might be a Christ-follower or not. Your actions, words, and everyday decisions (not just when you feel like it) reflect an attitude of Christ, during the good and bad times. Not easy, yet not impossible either. I recommend taking time to read "Not a Fan", by Kyle Idleman. His writing style was funny (anyone who makes a Ben Stiller reference in the first two chapters has got to be funny!), he kept my attention, and challenged me along the way. I am happy to say, "I am a follower, not just a sideline fan", but I still have a lot of work to do. Don't we all :)
Topics: Inside My Head