Gut Check: Am I a Fan or a Follower of Jesus?
Jesus attracted multitudes wherever He went. While His audiences were diverse, each person experienced different levels of interaction with Christ.
There were those who were skeptical and standoffish. There were those who were simply curious and want to know more about Him. Another group were His fans, those who trusted in Him for eternal life and wanted to learn more from Him.
In addition to these groups, there were followers, believers whose desire was to be close to Jesus and follow Him wherever He went. They experienced an intimacy with Him that was much deeper than those who were merely fans.
It is clear from Scripture that those who followed Jesus most closely were the same ones He used most mightily in evangelism. Jesus mentions this correlation at the beginning of His ministry when He says to Simon Peter, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He followed Christ closely and was used mightily by the Lord to proclaim the gospel.
This same principle holds true in the church today. There is a direct correlation between the fervency of our following of Christ and the effectiveness of our fishing for Christ. Those believers, who we will call “fans”, have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation, yet don’t passionately pursue Him in fellowship are less faithful and fruitful in evangelism than those believers who draw near to Him in fellowship on a regular basis – followers.
So, are there areas where you may be a fan, a follower, or somewhere in between? Here are some distinctives that will help you determine where you are on the spectrum:
Fans strive to GET a blessing. Followers strive to BE a blessing.
The word “blessing” typically refers to evidence of God’s favor in someone’s life. Followers realize that they already have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph 1:3) Because they continually recognize the grace/blessing they have already received, it frees them up to be a blessing to others, including evangelism, in the following ways:
- Focused on serving others
- Aware of evangelism opportunities with others
- Less self-centered
- View people as opportunities rather than burdens
- Have no “on/off” switch. You are always ready share the gospel
Fans dabble. Followers are “all in”.
Perhaps nothing exemplifies being a “follower” more than surrender. After all, someone who follows a leader must be willing to go where the leaders leads and do what the leader says. Here are some ways it influences our witness:
- Does not fluctuate with the calendar or circumstances
- Demonstrates to non-believers that we take the claims and commands of Christ seriously
- Provides a strong great apologetic of a transformed life
- Leads to greater evangelism because the number one factor (from a human perspective) in evangelism is obedience
- Through obeying Christ, we mirror Him
- Guards against hypocrisy
- Departs from comfort zone to reach people with the gospel
- Makes it easier for God to direct us
Fans believe they have it all together. Followers know they are a work in progress.
Brokenness simply means to recognize our desperate need for Christ not just for salvation, but to live His life through us. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we realize our inadequacy and desperate need for Him to work in our lives. The benefits to evangelism are many:
- Fosters a dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead and work
- Cultivates humility which attracts others
- Prevents a judgmental attitude which repels others
- Produces a soft heart which is sensitive to the leading of God
- Views continual prayer as vital
- Radiates a selfless love and concern for others
God anoints and uses a person who is in hot pursuit of Him, fully broken, surrendered, and available. Like a precious gem, committed followers are rare, of great value, and beautiful to behold. Seek to follow Jesus closely and watch how He transforms your life and witness.
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Dallas, TX 75370-3929