A few months back I read a book entitled Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. His premise was that becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus is much more than just being an “enthusiastic admirer”.
Idleman observed that “fans” tend to only want to be close enough to the Lord in order to enjoy all the benefits, but not so close that it might cost them something. In order to self-evaluate one’s commitment to Christ, he poses a series of questions that will make for great “thinking fodder” this week.
Consider this one…Are you interested in having more knowledge about Christ or interested in developing a deeper intimacy with Him? Do you know Him or REALLY know Him? Is filling out a Bible study notebook more interesting than contemplating the face of Christ? It is easy to confuse a system of learning for a service of love.
Consider this question…Are you committed to following Jesus, or following the rules? Too often believers perfect the art of pretending. Our “outside” is a kind of hypocrisy that masks the fact that we do not have it all together. Oh, we are part of the group. We act like a member of the clan. We have the vocabulary down. We look like a follower. But Jesus called those kinds of folks “whitewashed tombs.” (Ouch!)
And the question that seemed to hit home the most for me was…Are you self-empowered or spirit empowered? In our culture, being weak is seen as a definite “no-no.” We spend a lot of time trying to disguise our personal weaknesses. We want people to believe that we have personal resources sufficient for the tasks or challenges at hand.
But the apostle Paul understood that our real strength comes from directly relying on the power of God. “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…for when I am weak I am strong.” Self-sufficient is an indicator of fandom, not true discipleship.
In Galatians he went on to declare, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25) It’s not a matter of “trying harder.” It’s a commitment to infuse the very breath we breathe with a focus on the Son of God. His Spirit is sought. His Spirit is acknowledged. His Spirit leads and we indeed follow.
Truth is, I am a fan of college basketball. Ask me about a team or the NCAA tournament and I can respond with tons of facts and figures. I am a fan of the movie, “Sound of Music”. With very little prodding, I can sing all the songs in that show. I am a fan of fresh water fishing. I can gut a trout in just a few minutes.
But I deeply want to be a serious follower of Jesus. I want to be like Peter and Andrew who heard the call “Come follow me” and “at once left their nets and followed Him.”
As we all drop our nets this week, maybe we can start a new rallying cry, “I am not a Fan!” (T-shirts anyone?)