Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me,
he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
– Luke 9:23 (Holman Christian Standard)
I am amazed at how sports have become ingrained in our everyday lives. We are never more than a few seconds away from the hot topics of the day. ESPN, team websites, blogs, and around-the-clock sports talk keep us connected to the never ending stream of information on teams, players and coaches. Fans want to be involved, they want to know everything going on with their favorite team or player. Fans can also be very passionate. The dictionary defines a fan as “an enthusiastic admirer”. The reality is that fans are much like spectators in the stands. They want to be close enough to their favorite team or player to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires any personal sacrifice. Individual players and teams don’t have that luxury. They have to be committed to putting in the time and effort to get better each day and to be physically and mentally prepared for game day. They are personally invested in the game while the fan is limited to a cheerleading role. Big difference!
How easy it is for us to fall into the same trap in our relationship with Jesus. We have the symbol of the fish on our car bumper, we wear the cross around our neck, we never miss a Sunday at church and we have memorized all the words to our favorite Christian songs, so we must be a follower of Jesus. Just like the sports fan, we often confuse passion with commitment. How easy it is to use all the “church” words, wear the Christian symbols and put on the appearances of being a Christian and yet never fully commit to being a Jesus follower. How often do we want the benefits of being a Christian without making the daily personal sacrifice? How many times do we find ourselves standing on the sidelines cheering, instead of getting into the game? Jesus is not interested in having fans and admirers, he is asking us to make an investment, to put in a little sweat-equity, and to get into the action. Where do you see yourself, as a fan or a follower?
Heavenly Father, thank You for being committed to me. May I never forget the price that was paid for my sin. Lord, give me the strength to be a committed follower and not simply a fan. Amen.