Monday, June 23, 2014

Fan or Follower Must Stand Up for the Truth



I just finished the book, Not A Fan, by Kyle Idleman. You can check it out here notafan.com . It is a book I think every Christian, young or old, should read. Idleman's book has deeply inspired me and my Christian walk. Has made me stop and think, where do I fit into these two categories: am I a fan of Jesus or am I a follower of Jesus.

If you are a fan of Jesus, you do not strive to have a personal relationship with Jesus and your just a pew warmer on Sundays. You do not strive to be Christ like in all that you do or say. Fans have a quasi relationship with Jesus that is based on their own ideals as to what a Christian is suppose to be and do. A fan's life is basically centered around oneself and not around God. It's all about me...me...me and serving oneself, not God. 
Matthew 4:10 "... for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." 
So, do I serve myself or do I serve the Lord? I think if I were to grade myself, it would have to be a C+ mainly because I think I let my insecurities and heath affect my ability to serve, especially in a public setting. I am so uncomfortable around lots of people and have a hard time going up and talking to people. I have to force myself. I allow it to interfere with serving the Lord. I have also let school interfere with my serving the Lord. Presently, I feel more like an outsider in my church because I do not have the time to attend the women's Bible Study anymore or participate in other activities within the church because 90% of my time is spent at school and studying.

However, my relationship with Him has become more intimate than has ever been before. Since he opened the doors for me to go back to school, I seek him daily and pray daily for his guidance, wisdom and knowledge. I try to read the Word everyday or a devotion or listen to a sermon or worship music on the radio on my way to school. Saturday mornings I was participating in an online Bible study at the Women's Bible Cafe and when I can, I study the Word with a sister in Christ on Fridays. 

In the book it mentions how a  fan 's light has been doused and is barely flickering. Even though I may not be able to show on the outside, as other Christians do, my joy and passion for the Lord, it does burn zealously bright and fervent within my heart and soul and behind my pen. But it is something that I need to work on. I need to learn how to share and display my joy with others and share why I place my hope, faith and trust in Him and not in the things of this world.

These insecurities hold me back from being a true follower, and my social anxiety problems, my stuttering when I am really nervous, poor memory and my low opinion of myself. I let our finances hold me back. It becomes an excuse. We are not rich. We are a single income family that lives paycheck to paycheck and sometimes we struggle putting food on the table and having gas to go back and forth to school and work.  I let my past sins hold me back from being a true follower as well. The enemy drives it into my head that I am worthless...trash. I  get it into my head that no one would want to associate with me or be my friend. Following Jesus, as Idleman points out should be our top priority. And that means giving all of ourselves to him and laying down all distractions of this world, including the distractions of our insecurities and of our past.

So how will I be a follower? Well for one, I think this blog is one way to reach the millions of people who do not know Jesus personally. If I could reach just one soul through this blog, I would be extremely happy. Once this last school year is complete, I pray the Lord will open doors for me to serve Him with my art and web design. My hope is to start designing web sites for ministries and non-profit organizations and use my art and photography as way to reach others. I want to start some sort of ministry giving hand decorated hope boxes to women being released from jail or prison and facing re-entry back into the community. I want to show them our Lord is a Lord of love, compassion and mercy through tracts, a small Bible and other items. I have a heart for the elderly, so I want to help somehow in that area as well. I am not sure what direction the Lord will lead me, but I have full confidence and trust in Him that He will open the doors and lead the way.

And the Lord will lead us we must place our trust in him, as Idleman stated in his book, Jesus told Matthew in 9:9 follow me and Matthew got up and followed him. 
Matthew 9:9 "As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him."
A follower can be anyone, a tax collector, an inmate, a disabled person, a black person, a white person, a poor person, a rich person, a welder, a waitress, a divorcee - anyone.God has a plan for each and everyone of us. Heaven does not throw stones. There is only one requirement and that is to repent and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and believe that He died on the cross for your sins.

Are you ready to follow now? If not, when? Jesus didn't have a pillow to lay his head on at night or a place to call home. He reached thousands of people preaching, sharing and healing and he sent the disciples out into the world to share the truth with others. 

Many Christians let the things of this world define who they are instead of Jesus and his message. So many of us have stepped back from the truth that Jesus wanted his followers to share, due to fear of the enemy and escalating crisis spreading  and many of us have compromised our beliefs and what it truly means to follow Jesus and obey the Word. When we took up the cross, accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we chose to follow Him and not the ways of this world. If we step back now in fear, the enemy wins. Fan or follower, We must be united and stand up for the truth, live our lives like Jesus. It is important that our attitudes, hearts and minds reflect Jesus not this world. Something I think many of us fail at, including myself. 
God Bless Brothers and Sisters,
Carol