I started reading a book recently called 'Not A Fan' by Kyle Idleman. It asks a question that upon first glance doesn't seem like a tough question to answer.
But as I continued to read that question became a little more tough to answer without really thinking about it.
Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?
That's the question. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?
The first time I read it, I answered right away, "Of course I am."
But the more I read, the less sure I became. Am I a follower? Or am I a fan? Let me lay it out a little as the author did.
A sports fan goes to all the games, wears the jersey, the hat, the big foam finger, roots and cheers for his team. He has bumper stickers on his car, season tickets, and maybe a cell phone case with his team's logo on it. He's dedicated to his team.
But he sits in the stands. He's never on the field taking a beating, risking insult and injury for the game, protecting his teammates...making a sacrifice. He's safe up in the bleachers. He's all about his team while they're winning but what happens when they have a losing streak for 3 or 4 seasons? He quits spending money on season tickets and bumper stickers, stops talking about his team, maybe even switches allegiance to another team.
Now look at that from a Christian perspective: A fan goes to church pretty regularly, listens to Christian music, has a fish bumper sticker on his car, maybe wears a cross necklace. But what happens when things get hard, when life takes a turn for the difficult and God seems far away?
How many people let go of God because they don't have a REAL relationship with Him? How many people are really only fans of Jesus and not truly following Him?
Following Jesus requires sacrifice. What have you sacrificed for Jesus? That's a hard question for many people to answer. It's a hard one for me to answer and I'm still trying to figure it out. What have I sacrificed for Jesus?
I've lost a few friends because I refused to do things that would have compromised my values. I've taken the high road and watched others have 'fun' because their fun would have disappointed my Jesus. I guess that could be considered sacrifice but compared to Christians in other nations who are giving up or risking their very lives it's nothing. Would I be willing to give up my life for Jesus if I was asked to?
Would I be willing to give up everything for Him like Job did? Or would I cling to earthly things that I love rather than sacrifice all for the One who sacrificed all for me?
I would absolutely give it all. I know in the deepest part of everything I am, that I would give it all. If the work Jesus has for me requires that I be alone and he took my husband and children from me, then I, heartbroken as I'd be, would let them go because I know that no matter what, Jesus knows what's best for me. If I have to give up my house and my car and my business then that, too, would go. I can't think of a single thing on this earth that I would refuse to sacrifice for Jesus.
Because I love Him more. Because I am a follower, Not A Fan.