"Not A Fan," by Kyle Idleman, is a bestseller Christian novel published in 2010. This life-changing book really opened my eyes and changed my perspective of what being a Christian really means. It explains the difference of being a "Fan of Christ" and a "Follower of Christ." I am Not a fan.
A VERY brief synopsis of the book:
Fan of Christ:
-knows all about Jesus, but does not have a personal relationship with Him.
-is an "enthusiastic admirer" and actively involved when things are going well, but when things go bad or don't go their way, they lose interest or enthusiasm and become less involved.
-commits to Jesus on Sunday mornings, but not every hour of the day and doesn't allow being a Christian to define/control their life
-talks to God occasionally before they go to bed or only when they need His help
-loves the "idea" of God and the things He has done
-continues to live life in order to gain temporary, worldly desires and materialistic things, only "living life to the fullest" in their own selfish ways
Follower of Christ:
-personally knows Jesus, has close relationship with Him.
-has a strong desire and love for God no matter the circumstance, but knows although they make many mistakes (as humans do) and may occasionally slip away from God, they come running back into God's arms wide open asking for His forgiveness and help.
-dedicates every day to Jesus and allows God to control their life/decisions
-talks to God every day, on both good and bad days
-In love with God, and always thanks Him for all He has done
-remembers that they only exist for God and God alone, and that they were put on this Earth to praise and love Him for all our days, "lives life to the fullest" doing things that please God
"You, God, are worth more than money, success, knowledge, living the American Dream, and everything in between. You are worth more than life itself. We are only alive because of You. It's a daily struggle to dedicate my entire life to you each day, but I know I must remember this: like most GREAT and important things in life, they don't come easy....but are WORTH it."
"Then Jesus said, 'If you want to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it." -Luke 9:23-24
"And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" -Mark 8:36
"Just as you can identify a tree by it's fruit, you can identify people by thier actions." -Matthew 7:20
"Not everyone who cries out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in Heaven will enter. Even demons know my name. On judgement day, everyone will say to me 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name, cast out many demons, and did many works in your name!' But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you evildoers!'" -Matthew 7:21-23
Being a Christian is hard work. It requires you to "die daily" for God, in order for you to live for Him. We must die of our inner selves, give up our lives to Jesus 100%, and maintain a personal relationship with Him.
The problem is that many try to do this and fail often, get frustrated and exhausted, and give up. What we do not understand is that THIS IS NORMAL. God does not expect us to be perfect, for it is impossible to do everything right. God is patient, forgiving, and we can not even begin to imagine the greatness of His love for us. He is there with arms wide open, waiting for us to turn to Him with all of our decisions in life, cry out to Him in need, and show praise and thankfulness to Him daily. All He really wants is to have a deep and personal relationship with us. With that comes the ability to carry out our purpose and God's will for us, keep God's laws in our daily walk, live our life to please Him, and the desire to serve others in His name.
God is NOT asking us to give up all of our personal interests, not have fun, throw away our bucket list with life goals on it, or drop everything in life. He IS asking us to do ALL things that please Him by keeping Him in our heart. After all, it does say in the Bible, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -1 Corinthians 10:31.
"Commitment: You're either IN or you're OUT. There's no such thing as life in between."