I think its fitting that I am starting this book just as football season is beginning. Living in a college town during this time is always an interesting experience. Back in TN, about 95% of the town felt like this:
Every Saturday, downtown was basically shut-down as thousands of fans made the pilgrim to their temple in anticipation of seeing the Volunteers win a game. However, the last few years I lived there, we weren't doing to well. The more games we lost, the less people went, or if they did went they would leave the game half-way though because we were losing. Most people blamed the coach, but now that he is gone and another is in his place, you can feel the excitement and pride once more.
The fans have returned!
But that is what fans do. They are "an enthusiastic admirer." They stand in the bleachers and cheer on the players, but they don't actually play. They don't actually go out onto the field and get tackled or worry about passing the ball to the correct person or anything. And when the players disappoint, they leave.
How many times do we do this with Jesus?
How many times will we stand there and cheer him on as long as things are going the way we think they should but as soon as they change we leave and forget him?
I know I do this all the time and its something that I hope I can change. But I have to keep asking myself, do I want to change. And to be honest the answer is: I don't know. I want to say yes but a part of me is screaming NO!
In the first chapter of the book, the author, Kyle Idleman, asks us to imagine Jesus sitting down across from us at a coffee shop and asking us to have a DTR conversation. How would you respond?
I know for me, I wouldn' know how to respond. I would be thinking something like this:
but it will prolly end up saying something like this:
Either way, its not good. Jesus would clearly be able to define what he wants in a relationship with me, but I would have no clue how to respond. Is our relationship exclusive? Is it casual or committed? I know what the answers should be but I also know how my heart would answer and unfortunately they do not match up. What about you?
Keeping all of this in mind, I want to ask you something dear reader. Now I know I may not actually know you personally but I want to ask you it anyways. I also want you think very carefully about your answer before you reply and don't just reply immediately. But rather take your time and think:
Are you a follower of Jesus?
Like I said, before you answer I want you to truly think about how you are going to respond? What does it mean to be a follower? What does it mean to be a fan? What standards do we use to distinguish between the two?