"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him" (Philippians 1:29).
In full transparency, I was raised a White Sox fan (here's to hoping I don't lose too many of you!). However, despite the rivalry, when Zobrist hit the go-ahead double in Game 7 of the World Series, I found myself cheering loudly alongside friends who've followed the Cubs their whole lives. After the final out, I journeyed with hundreds to get a glimpse of the Wrigley Field marquee and took in the sights and sounds at Friday's parade. For a span of what seemed like seven magical games, I was all about it.
Fast forward to this week: The champagne has slowed, the confetti has settled. For as much as I was into the Cubs last week, I can't say I'm living any differently. While I put in the hours to watch each World Series game, it's a new week. Win or lose, I had no real commitment, no cost tied to the final outcome of the season. The truth is that when it came to the 2016 Cubs, I'm was a fan, not a follower.
In his book, Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman challenges his readers with this question: "Are you a fan or follower of Jesus?" In the Gospels, we see Jesus ask this question to Nicodemus, the rich young ruler, his disciples, the pharisees, and many others. Fans can make a decision for Jesus without actually committing to Him. Commitment necessitates that we follow Jesus and picking up our cross and dying to self. "You can't carry a cross without suffering."
Do I just know about Jesus or do I really know Him?
Am I a self-empowered fan or a spirit-filled follower?
Am I willing to follow Jesus wherever? Whenever? Whatever?
Are you a fan or a follower? If we are committed to truly following, how might this impact the way we engage in the workplace, with co-workers and bosses? The way we approach failure, weakness, and trials? The way we consider our futures and families? The way we discuss and anticipate what this election day will bring?
You can't separate the sweet joy of victory from the 108 years of suffering. You can't follow Jesus without counting the cost. But oh, how sweet it is when we follow and live into who we were called to be:
"You are adopted (Ephesians 2:19).
You are chosen (Colossians 3:12).
You are called (Ephesians 4:1).
You are a follower (Luke 9:23)." (Kyle Idleman)