I hate soccer.
Hate is a strong word. I dislike soccer.
Hm, I think I should say, I dislike playing soccer.
Actually, I don’t even enjoy watching it very much.
Nevertheless, a couple years ago I decided to go watch the final game of the European Championship between Spain and Germany in Vienna.
I must have been very bored.
I didn’t want to waste my money on tickets, so I went to the free public viewing area and joined about 40,000 Spanish fans in cheering for their team.
Yes, I am Austrian. And no, I didn’t cheer for Germany. Sorry.
Now if you know anything about soccer, then you know that most soccer fans are real fans. And let me just say this: Soccer is very, very important to the Spanish and German people. They take a lot of pride in their teams and when a game happens, nothing can be more important than watching and cheering. They will put flags on their houses and cars, they will wear their team jerseys, paint their faces, and they will let everyone know on whose side they stand. This will be expressed through screaming, shouting, roaring, honking, drinking, trumpeting, and in extreme cases, actual fights with fans of the opposite team.
This made me think about my Christian walk.
Am I a die-hard fan of Jesus Christ?
Am I letting the world know on whose side I stand on in the great controversy between Christ and Satan?
Which flag is raised over my life?
Whose colors am I wearing?
Does the world see my “Christian jersey”?
I think we need to be real fans of Jesus. He is simply the best and we should take pride in Him, right?!
Here is my problem though: Is it enough to be just a fan of Jesus? Isn’t He calling for so much more?
And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23
Jesus actually wants more than fans. He is asking you and me to be followers of Him. Being a Jesus-fan is nice, but not enough.
A soccer fan dresses up and goes crazy for the 90 minutes of the game, and then goes back to normal life.
A follower on the other side devotes his entire life to a cause. No breaks.
It’s not enough to celebrate Jesus for just two hours on the Sabbath when throughout the week, life is being lived wearing the “jerseys of the world,” praising its temporary idols, chanting meaningless songs, and proclaiming foolishness.
Complete devotion to Jesus, alignment of our lives to His righteous principles through the work of the Holy Spirit combined with the willpower of man, doing the will of God in every small and every big thing in life, … that is what Jesus is asking from His followers.
Yes, I absolutely want to be a fan of Jesus. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I want to celebrate Him! He is awesome, He is the Winner, and everybody needs to know!
But more than that, it is my desire to be a true and faithful follower of Him. Denying self and picking up my cross daily.
What about you? Do you want to join the Jesus-fan-follower-club?
I hope you do.
His jersey, His songs, His eternal club-membership is truly worth it.