Are You a Follower of Jesus or Simply a Fan?

by | Jan 27, 2016 | Purpose & Identity

Let me be the first to say that this column—as with any Step out of the Boat columns I write—isn’t meant to chastise or point fingers. It isn’t meant to bring on guilt or condemnation.

Writing this, as I always do, I hope to spur you to bigger and better things with Christ. If you are struggling with anything, I want to encourage you that there is something better out there, and it can be found in Jesus. That is my prayer for you.

That said, I must confess that my job allowed me to come across Kyle Idleman’s 2011 book Not a Fan about three years ago. For some reason that I now fully understand, the title of the book didn’t resonate with me and I simply tossed it aside.

It wasn’t until my pastor, Ed Garvin, recommended the book during a recent church service that I committed to read it. Pastor Garvin explained how it is a life-changer, and of course, now, I’m always intrigued by something when it gets that type of endorsement.

So why wouldn’t I read it when I first saw it back in 2012? Let’s just say my walk with Jesus, as much as I wanted to believe it was stellar, was anything but. You could say that I was a fan of Jesus and not a follower, as Idleman puts it.

Most times the prologue of a book will hook you, and Idleman’s prologue to Not a Fan isn’t any different. But instead of getting a celebrity endorsement for the book, Idleman caught my attention by offering an apology and an interesting take on John 6.

You know the old story about how Jesus fed the 5,000. Yes, Jesus truly performed a miracle, and it resulted in thousands of people camping overnight to hear Jesus the next day.

But ask yourself, why do you think many of them stayed around? Could it be that they figured Jesus would feed them again? Give anyone free food, and they’ll become a fan, especially if you do it repeatedly.

Jesus wasn’t about to become their meal ticket. He and His friends got into a boat and traveled to the other side of the sea. In John 6:26, He said, “Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

In verse 66, we come to find out that many would abandon Jesus because He neglected to offer them anything else tangible. “From that time, many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him.”

And Jesus did not chase after them. Idleman says, “He doesn’t soften His message to make it more appealing. … He seems OK with the fact that His popularity has plummeted.”

In other words, when it comes to followers, Jesus isn’t searching for big numbers. He’s looking for a level of commitment from us.

Remember Nicodemus? As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus heard Jesus preach and became a fan. But he didn’t make a full-time commitment because he was afraid his reputation would be besmirched by admitting he was an admirer of Jesus. He would be forced to choose between religion and his relationship with Jesus—his status as a follower or a fan. Eventually, we read that he chose Jesus.

So are you a follower or a fan? Have you made a decision for Jesus or have you made a commitment to Him?

Many of us may say we’re His followers with our flattering tongues (I know I did for years), but our actions fall way short of what that really means. I was in one of the groups that Idleman calls the “Jesus fish on the back of my car” group. Just because I went to church three times a month, repeated a prayer after a preacher or had a Christian worship song as my ringtone didn’t make me a Christian.

Over the past year, it became very clear to me that it was D.T.R. time. It was time to “Define the Relationship,” as Idleman says.

You’ve done that many times in your life, including when you got married. When you define the relationship, you determine your level of commitment.

For me, that meant:

  • Trusting God with everything (marriage, children, finances, job)
  • Amping up my commitment to prayer
  • Immersing myself in God’s Word
  • Taking on the heart of a servant

Since I have taken on a deeper commitment to Christ, I can honestly tell you that I have seen a change in my level of inner peace. That doesn’t mean my life issues have ceased to exist, but I have learned to cast my cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). I decided to stop trying to do it on my own because, frankly, I can’t, and it’s exhausting to try.

So I ask you, have you determined your level of commitment to Jesus? Is it casual or deeply serious? What can you do now to make a real commitment to your Lord and Savior?

I implore you, please don’t be as Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:5, “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.”

So are you a fan, or are you a follower? And if you’re a follower, will you pass this on to someone whom you believe is a fan?

And as I always like to say, “there is that.”{eoa}

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although most churches have not returned to their pre-pandemic attendance...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Recently while in worship, I was talking to the Lord when this prophetic flow began to come forth. I took out my phone and pressed record. This is the transcription of that word I received: "God, I see the firebrands rising up. God, I see the firebrands rising up. I...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of...
Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009. Not eating sugar...

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

I was walking along one of my favorite beaches, and it was turtle season. Early each morning, park services ride along the beach looking for new sea turtle nests. They record the nest's location, place stakes and rope off the location so that people do not disturb the...

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Soul ties form when we act in accordance with the flesh when developing or growing in a relationship with another person. This could be any relationship formed or grown out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, pride, loneliness, doubt and the like. Soul ties can develop...

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

This pandemic season hasn’t been easy—but pastors have suffered in unique ways. Statistics show that between 20-30% of churchgoers stopped attending in 2020, and the bulk of those people have not returned. In many cases, they never said goodbye. Many of my best...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]