Do you ever go through phases where you feel God is working on you about several things at once? That’s how it’s been for me lately. Among my latest introspections, I’ve been wondering: when it comes to Jesus, am I a fan or a follower?
Fans like Jesus.
Texas is full of Jesus fans. They sport the honk-if-you-love-Jesus bumper stickers. They wear the fish and cross t-shirts. They go to church faithfully; they love the fellowship. They speak fluent Christianese.
The fans aren’t doing anything “wrong.”
They’re just doing what other fans, what their families, and what their friends, expect them to do.
But being a follower requires a level of commitment the fans haven’t made.
Followers love Jesus.
Followers wear Jesus on their lives instead of on their cars and clothes. They go to church to worship, not just for a check mark on the attendance roster. They enjoy fellowship, but to them fellowship is more about people and relationships than it is about having a thriving social life. Even when their spouses thinks they’re crazy, their parents disapprove, and their friends smirk behind their backs, followers remain devoted.
It’s easy for me to be enthusiastic about being a Christian.
My whole support system — my family, my friends — would be disappointed if I suddenly broke ties and let it all go. But what if that weren’t the case? What if, in my social sphere, the idea of Jesus was taboo?
In his book Citizen (thought-provoking read!), author Rob Peabody gives the hypothetical scenario of an all-around good guy he calls Frank. Frank goes to church, works hard, provides for his family, and is involved in a home group with his wife and kids. Outsiders would say Frank was a great family man, a good neighbor, and a man of integrity. The author goes on to say, “But when you start digging deeper, below the surface, most of the things Frank does are either cultural norms, or what he would be doing anyway. . . . He knows where he is going when he dies, is raising his children in the church, and along the way is trying to be the best Frank he can be. . . . Frank is trying to live the ‘Western dream’ and bring Jesus along for the ride as well.”
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Technically, we know Jesus should be at the core of our lives. Even so, how often are we guilty of just bringing Him along for the ride?
Do I make choices based on a deep love for Jesus and my neighbors, or do I make them based on the “good Christian image” I want to present?
If I weren’t a Christian, would I still be pretty much the same person I am now?
Often, wholesome choices and actions come with blessings attached regardless of a person’s motivations. But I want to go deeper in Christ; I want to know God intimately; I don’t want to live by what-would-Jesus-do decisions just because that’s what’s socially acceptable among my peers. I want to know that if all others fall away from God, I’ll still cling to Him with all my heart.
God, help me be a follower and not just a fan!
Okay, I’ve shared what’s on my mind! Feel free to share your own thoughts and comments. :)