Pastor Darrin Ronde
March 17, 2016
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Jesus says I must deny myself in order to be a disciple. It’s interesting that in our culture, you can be a Christian without denying yourself. You can be a fan of Jesus, but not a serious follower of Jesus, and still call yourself a Christian. I know that because surveys show that a majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians. This, in spite of the fact that most don’t make any attempt to talk or live like Jesus.
To deny myself, I have to continually say ‘no’ to me and ‘yes’ to Him. Putting Jesus before me is not a REQUIREMENT for being a Christian, but it should be the RESULT of becoming one. I come to Christ with a selfish heart that thinks mainly about me and how to satisfy my own desires, which leads me down a dark path filled with shame, guilt and brokenness. When I give my life over to Jesus, He washes me clean of all the junk that has accumulated and sets His Holy Spirit within me to cause me to want to live for Him. If I’m listening to the Spirit, I will choose Jesus over me all the time.
In Kyle Idleman’s best-seller, Not a Fan, he questions whether most of us are genuine followers of Jesus. He says a fan is an enthusiastic admirer, one who cheers when things go well, but walks away when the going’s tough. We see that in football. A fan may appear to love a team, but in reality, they love themselves and what the team does for them. I can tell the difference between someone who follows the Broncos and someone who’s a fan of the Broncos. A follower wears team colors even in the off season. A fan puts on a jersey on game day or after they win. A follower knows the roster, while a fan only knows the major players. A follower is interested in the NFL combine and who the Broncos will draft. A fan waits until the Fall to find out who’s on the team. A follower basically stays in touch all year round, whereas a fan only tunes in during the regular season, and in some cases, not until the playoffs.
Some of us think we are true followers of Jesus when in reality, if you examined our lives, you’d find that we are only fans. We act like Jesus is a big deal on game day (Sundays), but not so much the other six days of the week. We don’t open the Bible to hear God has to say. We wait for the preacher or teacher to digest the Word and give us the main thoughts. We put in an offering when we’re in attendance, but not when we miss.
In your relationship with Jesus, which are you: a fan or a follower?