Saturday, March 4, 2017

Not A Fan

Seasons come and go in life, but the real game lasts well into eternity.
Alright, you knew the general topic this week would take. You can smell it in the air. You can hear it in the season chatter. There is a whole channel that is SEC now. Kickoff is here….
And I'm pretty deep in this whole thing called Sec Football. I breathe in the crisp fall air in anticipation for football Saturdays. I walk miles across the quad and to the stadium in search of tickets. I salute Denny Chimes and nod at every coach statue. I bleed crimson and white and houndstooth. And I can be found on a regular fall Saturday throwing out a Roll Tide to fellow fans. Even if you’re not a Bama fan or a football fan at all, stick with me I'm going somewhere.
After a heartbreaking end to last season and a hope of a three-peat gone with the wind, by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolled around I had managed to put last year in the past and look towards next season. I went to a small group Super Bowl party with some church people and watched as Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos took on Russell Wilson's Seattle Seahawks. I was amazed at how calm and collected I was during the game unlike the previous fall. I found it didn't really matter to me who won because I wasn't invested in either team. I didn't care one way or the other. No offense to the Broncos or the Seahawks. They're both great competitors; I'm just not that into NFL personally.
It was such a different experience. I wasn't pacing the room, crouched on the floor, nervous with anticipation or running around the room cheering in any form or fashion. I simply sat by and watched as the two teams battled it out on the field and listened to the other people who were pulling for certain sides. By all forms of the definition I was merely a spectator. I was a bystander with no emotional attachment to what was taking place. I was letting other people be involved and cheer and worry about the outcome, but I myself was not a fan and this fact made me think of Kyle Idleman's book and study, Not A Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower.
By sitting on that couch, un-invested in the game, I was demonstrating what hundreds of Christ followers do every day and that is simply to be a lukewarm fan of Jesus and not an on fire follower. Too many times, we want to be a part of something but we don't want to put the work into it. Simply put, we like the idea of Jesus enough to put bumper stickers on our car, but we never surrender our whole lives to Him. We wear the jersey, but we don't know the team stats or plays. We don't even read the play book. We sit by and watch other people do something that we don't really care about because our hearts are not truly invested. For many individuals following Jesus looks the same as I did that night watching the Super Bowl. We don't really care. We are not on fire. The outcome doesn't make a difference and we are calm as could be letting souls spend eternity on the wrong team. I want my Christian walk to look more like my Alabama football Saturdays than my unfazed Super Bowl night. I want to be not only a fan of Jesus Christ, but a truly devoted follower. I want it to matter.
And so I challenge you this fall, no matter what team you go for, no matter what sport, no matter what you are a fan of, make your top priority Jesus. Seasons come and go in life, but the real game lasts well into eternity. Are you a fan or a follower?
-Only Hope
*If this subject is of deeper interest please check out great author and pastor Kyle Idleman's books, especially:
Not A Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower
gods at war (the god of entertainment chapter, the church that built Peyton section.) <This is a good read!>

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