Rachel Scott, one of the teenage girls killed at Columbine, wrote this to a friend, “What is faith when you are a fan instead of a follower? What is Christianity when it is a label instead of a lifestyle? What is life when living without the LIFEMAKER? ” (The Journals of Rachel Scott, p. 53).
It is easy to be a fan of Jesus. People around the world see Jesus as a wise man with great teachings. It is recognized that if people truly lived out the teachings of Jesus this world would be a much better place.
To see Jesus as just a great moral teacher means you are just one of his many fans. While it is easy to be a fan, it is hard to be a follower and allow Jesus to interfere with the way we live.
Remember being a Christian isn't about mentally accepting the truth of what Jesus said. A Christian isn't a person who quotes Jesus, goes to church, and lives to a certain standard of morality. A Christian is not a mere fan of Jesus; he is a follower of Jesus.
A follower differs from a fan because a fan remains on the sideline cheering, but a follower gets into the game and does what he has been taught. A follower not only loves Jesus' teachings, but he also trusts who Jesus is. A fan may love aspects of Jesus' teachng, but he is not willing to trust Jesus for who he is.
Kyle Idleman in his book Not a Fan, wrote:
“Most of us don't mind Jesus making minor change in our lives but Jesus wants to turn our lives upside down. Fans don't mind him doing a little touch-up work, but Jesus wants complete renovation. Fans come to Jesus thinking tune-up, but Jesus is thinking overhaul. Fans think a little makeup is fine, but Jesus is thinking makeover. Fans think a little decorating is required, but Jesus wants a complete remodel. Fans want Jesus to inspire them, but Jesus wants to interfere with their lives” (p. 31).
If we are just fans of Jesus because we like what he has to say then we are not really Christians. We may cheer Jesus on and support the Church, but we are not allowing Jesus to lead us. We are content with sitting in the stands rather than getting into the game.
Christianity makes a difference in our lives only when we follow Jesus. This isn't about morality, but it is about trusting Jesus with our lives.
Being followers of Jesus means we strive to live as Jesus lived. We want to follow his example and to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. Therefore we need to believe that in Jesus we find life. It is only through following Jesus that we experience life. The life God created us to live!
In the book of Luke we read about three encounters Jesus had with people who had an interest in following him.
As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62; NLT).
Each of these people Jesus encountered were fans. They wanted to follow Jesus on their terms, but Jesus was clear in what he expected. For Jesus it wasn't enough that they saw him as a great teacher; he didn't simply want them to be fans.
Jesus basically says that fans are not able to find the life God created them to live. That is why Jesus ultimately wants us to be followers. We need to sacrifice the security and comfort we desire and step out into the unknown to follow Jesus wherever he leads. To be a follower of Jesus requires us to trust him more than we trust ourselves. We can't just be fans, we have to become followers.
Questions to Consider:
- Do you consider yourself as a fan or a follower?
- Why can true life only be experienced by following Jesus?
- What can you do to trust Jesus more?