Not a Fan: Completely. Committed. Follower by Kyle Idleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is definitely a MUST READ book for Christians. It is a wake up call that it's not just about saying a prayer when you were 7 or responding to an altar call after an emotional sermon. Are you really a follower of Christ or just an admirer? Do you really know Him? I fear that too many Christians in America think they are true believers but really are not and one day, it will be too late. "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven...I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me..." Matthew 7:21, 23
Part of the book deals with the verse Luke 9:23 - "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." The author breaks down the different components of this verse, dealing with the issues of denying ourselves and what that means in practicality, as well as taking up our cross and that that is to be done daily.
Following Jesus is not something to be taken lightly. It requires giving up our own dreams and desires. "What is it that is competing for your allegiance to Christ? You may have both hands on the plow, but what is it you keep looking back at? Until you really have surrendered anything and everything over to Jesus and truly put him above all else in your life, you will not know the joy and satisfaction that finally comes when you go all-in."
"Please understand: Jesus loves you so much. He died to have a relationship with you. He will not share your heart with anyone. He will settle for nothing less than your complete devotion and heart-felt affection. He made no compromises when he came and gave his life up for you, and he takes no compromises now as he asks you to do the same.
"The reason Jesus is so adamant about followers surrendering everything is because the reality is this: the one thing we are most reluctant to give up is the one thing that has the most potential to become a substitute for him. Really what we're talking about here is idolatry. When we are to be following Jesus, who is ahead of us, but find ourselves looking behind us, we are revealing that we are substituting something or someone for him."
One thing I want to be cautious about in recommending this book - salvation is not by works. The things we do for Christ are not what saves us. God gives us the faith to trust Him for our salvation, a gift of grace. But faith without works is dead (see James 2:14-18). When we choose to put our trust in God for our eternal salvation, we are also turning away (repenting) from our old way of living and our committing our lives to God, to do with as He sees fit. This is what it means to be a follower. A fan remains in the stands, admiring from afar. A follower is down in the action, doing what is needed to bring glory to God.
*I own this book.