“Fans often confuse their admiration for devotion. They mistake their knowledge of Jesus for intimacy with Jesus. Fans assume their good intentions make up for their apathetic faith. Maybe you’ve already decided you’re a follower and Not a Fan; well, I hope you keep reading, because one of the core symptoms of “fandom” is that fans almost always consider themselves to be followers.”
— Kyle Idleman | not a fan.
Fandom vs. following Christ – which one costs more? Which one is more worthwhile? Which one gets you the most bang for your buck? The world will tell you to choose fandom and enjoy the best of both worlds. The world will tell you that you can “have your cake and eat it too.” The world will tell you being lukewarm is the latest trend. And the world would be correct – fandom IS the all the rage. But as we all know, trends never last long and hindsight is 20/20. When we stand before the Lord on that Day, will we give account for a lukewarm life infected by fandom or a life burning with passion for the Lord?
Can you honestly say you’re in love with Jesus? Or are you just really good at “being Christian?”
This is a tough one. If you’re a fan, you’re probably a little offended and a little annoyed by the phrase “good at ‘being Christian.'” Not to mention the “are you really in love with Jesus” part. Friends, if this is where you find yourself, set your emotions aside and take a second to evaluate things. Forget about my offending you and ask yourself this: Do you really believe in this stuff or are you just really awesome at following the rules and putting on a good show? Does it pierce you heart to know what Christ suffered for you? Does your heart burn with passion for the Lord?
Fans are really good at looking good. Sometimes, they’re so good they even fool themselves.
Have you been trying to work your way into heaven by following the rules and being a good church kid? Do you struggle with entitlement? Understand this truth: If you are the least sinful person to ever exist, you will still go to hell if you don’t know Christ. Obeying the rules doesn’t get you to heaven. This isn’t “Simon Says.” This is “How He Loves.” And oh, how He loves!
Followers are in love with Jesus. It’s written all over their faces. The joy of the Lord radiates from their every pore! They may not look pristine on the outside, but their hearts are pure. Followers care less about outward appearances and more about what God sees – the heart. More often than not, followers are dirty on the outside – from working as the hands and feet of Jesus and from wearing their struggles, sins, and failures on their sleeves. But this doesn’t bother them because they understand and truly believe that the righteousness of Christ covers them!
Followers can’t stand being away from Jesus for a second! They long for deep conversations with the Lord. They constantly brag on Him to their friends and family because of the amazing love with which He loves! They are enthralled by His charm, smitten by His sweet words, comforted by His gentle embrace.
And so the question remains: Are you in love with Jesus? Or are you just trying to win “Simon Says?”
Are you “walking the walk” or are you just all talk?
Do your actions support your proclamations? Can others identify you as a follower of Christ by the way you live your life? If people can’t tell you apart from the rest of the world solely by the way you live your life, you’ve got a problem. And it’s a serious one.
“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
— Titus 1:16
Well that’s really blunt. Paul describes people who are “all talk” with some pretty strong words here. This verse should lead us to examine ourselves… but more often than not, we usually end up thinking about how so-and-so at such-and-such church should be reminded of this verse. Fans never see their own faults, only the faults of others. Modern day fans are like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. But Jesus had a different name for them: hypocrites.
If we talk about loving others, forgiving those who have hurt us, and turning the other cheek, we better be following through with some action when the tough times come. And come, they will!
When struggles come your way, will you truly lean on the Lord for strength, or will you trust in your own power? When someone wrongs you, will you forgive them as Christ has forgiven you, or will you give them a taste of their own medicine? When someone is in need of food, will you open your wallet and give graciously, or will you just let the next Christian do-gooder take care of them?
“We live at a time when we have become increasingly comfortable with separating what we say we believe with how we live. We have convinced ourselves that our beliefs are sincere even if they have no impact on how we live.”
— Kyle Idleman | not a fan.
Fans talk. They cheer from the stands. They spit a good game. They wave around signs and posters proclaiming what they believe in, who they believe in. But when it comes down to the line, fans just talk. They’re great referees but make awful players and teammates. This might sound harsh, but it’s truth: Fans are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work. Why? Because they are unreliable, noncommittal, and fickle.
Followers move. They’re on the field. They play the game. They don’t wave signs and posters; they ARE the signs, pointing to their MVP, the Captain of their team: Jesus Christ. Followers are different. They don’t jump off the bandwagon when things get rough because they’re committed to the cause. They’re in love with Jesus Christ. Their hearts’ desires are whatever HIS heart desires. They live for Him, by Him, in Him, and through Him; i.e. they “walk the walk.”
‘Cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed
Real love is the love of Jesus. He counted up the cost of dying for us and He believes we’re worth it. He doesn’t need fans who just go through the motions because they feel indebted to Him – nor does He want them. He wants followers. He wants people who, in love and sincerity, will declare these words and follow Him:
Jesus, take my all,
Take my everything
I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything
Beloved, count up the cost. He’s more than worth it. A life of following Christ will only bring ultimate joy and satisfaction. Believe it or ignore it. It’s your choice. But the cost of ignoring this truth is likely far more than you’re willing to pay. Christ may not seem worth the cost right now and the world might be telling you that the lukewarm life is the better life, but know this: Jesus believed YOU, in your sinfulness, were worth suffering the cross. Doesn’t He deserve more than mere fandom?
So I beg you to ask yourself: Has fandom crept into your life? Have you been numbed to the Lord? Are you trying to live by the letter of the law instead of living in the freedom you have in Christ? Can you honestly say Jesus is the love of your life? Does what you say you believe affect how you live? Do you really believe in all this “Jesus” stuff?
Count up the cost.
Decide if He’s worth it.
And if you decide He is, go all in.