Fan or Follower

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I love to read!  Few things give me as much pleasure as a good book in my hands and a great cup of British tea by my side.  I read for entertainment as well as for enlightenment.  When I am looking to be entertained, I am drawn to murder/mysteries similar to Agatha Christie novels.  Not that I’m actually smart enough to figure out “who done it,” but I enjoy the challenge.  Since I really do enjoy learning new things and because I’ve lived with Calvinists long enough to have the Calvinistic work ethic engrained in my mind so that I am slightly bothered when I just sit and read, I also read a book of some substance at the same time.  There are always at least two books on my bedside table in process of being read.

Right now I am reading the book, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman which is the inspiration for this blog.  If you read the book, you probably understand the title of this blog.  The author begins by asking a simple question: “Are you a follower of Jesus?”  Those of us who are Christians are quick to respond emphatically, “Of course I am a follower.”  Mr. Idleman goes on, however, to make a distinction between being a follower and being a fan of Jesus.  He suggests that many of us are actually fans of Jesus.  We attend worship on Sunday, sit on a committee or two at church – we may even have a fish or a “honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker on our car.  We have been saved by the atoning grace of God and we are comfortable in our Christian walk.  The author of the book intimates that perhaps, just perhaps, in our comfortable security, we are more like fans than followers.  We are content to sit in the stands and cheer for Jesus, but we are not willing to get out on the field and get dirty for Jesus or put ourselves in a precarious situation for Him.  We are not ready to walk where Jesus walked – that path of obedience that led Him to the cross.  We find it too difficult to love like He did, forgive like He forgave, or sacrifice to the extent He asks us to.

He never said that being a follower would be easy, but He did promise to be with us until the end of the age.  He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to do things that are beyond our human desire or ability to do – things like forgiving those who have unjustly hurt us or mistreated us, loving the unlovable, seeing beyond the externals into the soul which bears the image of God Himself.  He has shown us how to live in power and victory, and yet continue to be truly humble and content.  He empowers us to set aside our own needs and embrace the needs of others above our own.  He walks right beside us as we struggle to be obedient and rewards us with these beautiful words when we succeed, “Well done, my child.  I am proud of you.”  As we put our faith into action and choose to be a follower, we experience the power of the Holy Spirit to cast out fear, doubt, shame, and timidity.  He then fills us with hope, love, joy, faith, peace, freedom, and assurance of eternity.

It is indeed safer and more comfortable to be a fan, but I wouldn’t trade the challenges of being a follower of Jesus for that comfort or safety.

The blessings far outweigh the difficulties.  So I agree with Mr. Idleman and I emphatically and unequivocally say, “”I AM NOT A FAN!  I AM A FOLLOWER OF JESUS!”

Jesus said, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)  I invite you to join me in following Jesus …..and let’s get fishing.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

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