In my sermonic research for a short series called “Resurrection: Now What?” I decided to read Kyle Idleman’s not a fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus (Before you get onto me about capitalization, that is how the book itself is done. Yes, very trendy… Ok, let’s move forward). This book is a worthwhile read for anyone who steps foot in a church (sanctuary, cathedral, chapel, and etc.) and claims to be a follower of Jesus (Christian, religious, faithful, or even a seeker, etc.).
As I read this book, the premise of it stood out to me: Are you a fan, or are you a follower? It stood out to me since I usually argue that being a “fan” is short for being a “fanatic,” which would imply a complete abandonment to self. I consider followers to be passive, docile, and lacking enthusiasm (example: I follow a lot of people on Twitter than I am not a fan of, but I do so in order to stay on top of what they are saying about current events, activities, and so on and so forth). Pastor Idleman flips that imagery and states that fans are merely spectators, whereas followers actually are involved with a process.
Many good questions are posed by Pastor Idleman. See how you answer them.
- For what do you sacrifice your money?
- When you’re hurt, where do you go for comfort?
- What disappoints or frustrates you the most?
- Does your life reflect what you say you believe?
These questions can cut to the core. But that is a good thing. Oftentimes we insulate ourselves from difficult questions because we are afraid of the answers.
Allow yourself time to reflect on these questions. Allow yourself to see if you insulate yourself from the pain that is promised when we say we will follow Jesus.
Jesus says that we are to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). We aren’t supposed to do this with grumbling, griping, and complaining. We aren’t supposed to do this and declare how unfair it is when we are insulted, ridiculed, ostracized, or even persecuted. Rather, we are supposed to remember that a servant is no greater than The Master.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” -Luke 6:22
Each chapter is thought provoking, and each chapter ends with a personal story of people from his congregation who experienced turning from a fan to a follower of Jesus. I recommend both reading this book as well as asking God to turn your life into another story of someone going from fan to follower.