Sports have two typical types of watchers: fans – who enjoy the game but only watch for fun, and followers – the die-hard supporters of their favorite team who root in both winning and losing seasons and always have hope of the grand prize.
It occurred to me today that God is the same way. He has fans – people who like Him (or the idea of Him) and want what He can give them. They like the concept of a generous God but expect Him to stop there. They don’t want to alter or change their lifestyle, habits, attitudes, or spending in any way to honor Him. They aren’t sold out.
Then God has followers – people who are sold out. People who would willingly die for their faith. People who rarely waver in their faith that He is in control. People who willingly live generously instead of selfishly. People who are intentional about giving back, speaking up, and reaching out.
I believe the disciples were fans of Jesus – until His resurrection. Sure, they lived with Him, traveled with Him, listened to Him teach, witnessed Him healing, and experienced Him walking on water. But did they ever really know Him? Did they ever really understand the things He taught and told them? In the moment, no. After He died and rose again, yes.
They had all the pieces of truth. He told them. They were there first-hand when He healed in unusual and miraculous ways. They sat side by side with Him as He explained His purpose and His destiny. Yet there was always an element missing. Something they didn’t get or fully understand. They proved it time and again with their questions and their doubts. At least four times Jesus actually calls them out and says to them “O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8). He questions them in Mark 4:40 “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And He tells them in Matthew 20:20 that their “unbelief” is hindering them.
But speaking and dining with the resurrected Savior changed their perspective and solidified their faith. It turned their hearts forever toward the God of miracles and salvation. They went from being fans who never really understood Him to followers who were completely sold out to Him. They became followers who went willingly and eagerly to fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28:15 (“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”).
Jesus is looking for followers, people with great faith. He told the disciples in Mark 11:22 that one thing is important – “Have faith in God”. Faith is the key to living a successful and victorious life. Faith is the key to being a follower. “If you have faith and do not doubt” (Matthew 21:21) then you can endure through and possibly destroy any obstacle and impossibility. He is looking for someone who will be “faithful over a few things” (Matthew 25:21) instead of needing fame, fortune, and attention.
So are you a follower? Are you completely surrendered? Or are you just a fan? Do you stay in the shallow waters of safety, fearful to step out of your comfort zone into His great promises?
If you are just a fan, Jesus is asking you “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). Where is your willingness to give your all to Him? He isn’t asking for more than you can give, and He won’t just take from you and leave you alone. What He’s asking you to do is trust Him to lead you, guide you, direct you, and help you. To turn you in the right direction and walk with you.
If you are a follower, then you believe no matter what that God has your best interest in His purposes and that He is in complete control. That He will uphold you, protect you, strengthen you, guide you, and keep you no matter what is happening in, around, or to you. That He can and will redeem all the bad and negative things in your life for His glory and your good. That you will trust God and know God is there working on your behalf, whether it is obvious or not.
Will you be a fan who hopes God shows up in your day? Or will you be a follower who is strengthened in the confidence God walks with you?
Will you be a fan who lives in and by the fleeting moment? Or will you be a follower who focuses on the eternal God and His good works?
Will you be a fan who questions every circumstance and wonders about God’s love? Or will you be a follower who is empowered and enabled by the truth of His unwavering love?
Will you be a fan who cowers and falters at every difficulty? Or will you be a follower who stands strong and is bolstered by your faith?
Who will you be? Chaotic or confident. Unsure or unwavering. Fearful or faithful. Fan or follower. The choice is yours.
Marie Fremin. 12/13/15, 3/12/16, 3/15/16