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Are you a fan or follower of Jesus?
I just finished a book entitled “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. In the first chapter, the opening question was, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” You may have been asked this question before. And most of the time, you say “yes” without even thinking about it.
Of course I’m a follower! I go to church regularly, attend bible study, listen to Christian music, serve in a ministry…
But really, are you a follower? Or are you just a fan?
Fan – an enthusiastic admirer.
A fan is someone who sits on the sidelines, cheering his favorite basketball team on. He knows all the players, the score, the stats. But he is not in the game sweating it out with the rest of the team. He is sitting comfortably on the sidelines. He knows of the players – where they’re from, their favorite food, how many hours they train… But he doesn’t know them.
Jesus has a lot of fans these days. People who sit in the sidelines at church cheering him on. People who admire Jesus but know nothing of the pain of following him. They know all about Jesus but they don’t truly know him.
Many of us won’t mind Jesus making little changes in our lives. But Jesus isn’t interested in making a few touch ups – he wants a complete renovation. We think tune-up, but Jesus wants an overhaul. When we choose to follow him, Jesus will turn our lives upside down. He isn’t interested in having fans, he wants followers.
Jesus wants us to define our relationship with him. Is it casual or committed? Fan or follower?
Matthew, a tax collector, was busy collecting taxes behind his booth. Now to be a Jew, collecting tax for the Roman empire, was the height of all sins. He wasn’t just a sinner, he sinned for a living! Even his own family wouldn’t touch him. No doubt Matthew was already so “deeply in sin” he wasn’t even trying to hide it anymore. So when Jesus stops by his booth to speak to him, no one would have guessed what he would say.
Jesus said, “Follow me.”
Now in their culture, a rabbi (teacher of God’s word) didn’t go on extending invitations. If you wanted to be a student or disciple of a particular Rabbi, you had to apply. Rabbi’s would screen their applicants and turn away those who didn’t make the cut. But Jesus didn’t choose his followers based on their family background or familiarity with the old testament. He extends his invitation to anyone who would like to follow him. It’s your call. It’s your choice.
Jesus says, “Follow me.”
Mathew 9:9 says:
…And Matthew got up and followed him.
For so long I realized that I’ve only been a fan. I say I love God but I wasn’t ready to fully commit to him. It’s similar to telling someone, “Yes, I love you but I still want to date other people too.” I still kept those parts of my life I knew wasn’t pleasing to him. I felt that following Jesus would mean I couldn’t have fun anymore. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jesus wants us to follow him so we can fully experience the joy of being with him. It’s only when we surrender our lives to him that we can experience true joy and real freedom. We don’t have to be sinless to start following Jesus. We can start doing it today.
What about you? Don’t cheat yourself out of the joy of knowing Christ. Commit to following him today.
Go live a Truly Wealthy life.