Have you ever been involved in a heart to heart conversation? You know the one where you attempt to define your relationship with someone. It seems as though every romantic film ever made has that dramatic moment when the principle couple must finally “define their relationship.” You know when he gets offered the job promotion he’s always wanted and worked so hard for.
Although, once he has accepted it, he soon discovers it requires him to move far away to another part of the country. She drives him to the train station to say her last goodbyes – suddenly as the train pulls away she looks across the track only to see him standing there and he shouts “I couldn’t leave, I love you! We were meant to be together.”
Unfortunately endings such as this are not as simply in daily life, so there’s “the talk” when two people discuss their mutual understanding of their relationship. You know the define-the-relationship discussion involving questions such as, “Are we ‘just friends’ or more than that, exactly what is our level of commitment to one another, are we exclusive or just casual? Ironically Jesus also would like an answer to that question regarding your relationship with Him.
If Jesus were to sit down with you face to face desiring to have a genuine heartfelt conversation asking you to define your relationship with Him, how would you respond?
Are you truly his follower or just a fanatical fan? The dictionary defines the word fan as “an enthusiastic admirer”. Fans want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires sacrifice. Perhaps it’s time know the difference, Jesus desires it for every believer Jesus does not want to merely be the object of your admiration, but the very center of your life. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says to the crowd “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
I am not ashamed to admit for a substantial period of my life I would have been considered one of Jesus’s biggest fans. I went to church, I prayed, I went to Sunday school, bible study, participated in church programs and outreach ministries, but with all of that, I was but a great admirer of Jesus, I was not a faithful follower. The sad part is I didn’t really realize I wasn’t following Jesus, I mean I thought I was, yet all the while I was nothing more than a cheerleader, sideline quarterback, a fan. I had not turned from my selfish desires, I refused to take up any cross that was in front of me, I simply wanted heaven, and all the benefits of being a Christian WITHOUT the cost of following Jesus Christ.
You see a fan is about convenience, a follower on the other hand is about commitment. A fan does a lot of grandiose talk, and very little work, and when the going gets tough, the fans get gone. A fan is about procrastination, while a follower is about dedication. A fan is all about comfort, but a follower is about conviction.
Can you imagine on your last day, moments before you enter into eternity knowing you’re a fan and not a faithful follower? Over the loudspeaker you hear these very familiar and now prophetic words “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter…”
Let me ask you the same question again a little more direct: Are you a true follower of Christ? I mean really? We love to see miracles, signs and wonders—as we should. We praise the name of Jesus for the blessings in our lives—as we should. But will you take the humble road and pick up your cross daily to follow Jesus when you face persecution, a broken down car, a delayed promotion, financial ruin, mounting medical bills, or any number of other uncomfortable circumstances in life? Picking up your cross may mean speaking out, standing alone, it may mean keeping your mouth shut. But it will always mean striving to walk in love and forgiveness. It always means relying on God’s grace to obey His Word, His Word being Jesus.
We make small choices every day that demonstrate whether or not we are true followers of Christ or just giving lip service to His gospel. Of course, no one is perfect. We’re all moving from faith to faith and glory to glory. But are we pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us, laying aside everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us? Holiness is the mandate we strive toward. God just wants a willing heart that’s quick to repent when we move in the works of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Spirit. None of us are perfect. No condemnation. The goal is to mature, and that takes a decision to really, truly follow Christ.