Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Fans of Christ

     There was a saying that I heard once that continues to haunt me. It goes: Jesus Christ is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. This saying cuts right to the heart of the difficult teachings that our Lord gave us about discipleship. In the Gospel he warned us in many ways that there can be no part time followers of his teachings. I know hearing the saying above was a good thing but it also exposed a part of me that I hate. You see it’s easy for me to appreciate God, maintain a religious image, and help occasionally those in need. However, it’s not easy for me to do these things in the way the Gospel teaches. For the Gospel teaches that we must be go beyond these things and learn to constantly give every part of our lives to Christ. What this means is that a 90% commitment to our faith is not good enough. The moment we get comfortable at the 90% and stop striving after God we become disqualified from being a true follower of Jesus Christ.
     It seems a nominal commitment to Jesus Christ is all that is expected in our day. It’s rare that people are challenged and when challenged many feel they are hearing things only for those wanting to be clergy. For most people it appears that their understanding of Jesus Christ is one that does not require total obedience. Instead the level of obedience to Christ is dictated by a person’s comfort level. For instance, how often do we see people in our own churches living no differently than those that don’t go to church. In some cases you would not know the difference other than the fact of a church membership. What is sad is that we are sometimes convinced that this is normal or even expected for those that follow Christ. For when someone speaks out against these things they are often treated as radicals.
     There is a certain term for those that can show devotion to something but not be totally committed it’s called being a fan or an aficionado. A quick dictionary definition from google is: a person who likes, knows about, and appreciates a usually fervently pursued interest or activity. In other words a fan is someone who can appreciate something on their terms and at a level that they are comfortable with. The problem with being a fan of Jesus Christ is that He rejects them. In fact, in the book of Revelation He says that this kind of acceptance of Him is worth spitting out His mouth (Rev. 3:16).In other words he does not want fans but rather people that are completely committed to Him. The problem with being a fan is that it speaks very little to the commit that God has shown toward us. God is so committed that offers to each one of us all of what He is. There is no “I’m not ready’s", "buts", "maybe latters", for with God it’s a 100% commitment and He expects the same of us.
     What God does not except is perfect people for He knows we will fail to follow Him perfectly .However, failing to keep trying to love Him is unacceptable. This is where that saying that I shared above haunts me because it can at times be real easy to give up. However, giving up is not an option and to persist in our weaknesses without fighting against them puts us in the place of the fan. As I said there is a part of me that I hate because it wants me to look at all that I have done for God already and it tries to convince me not to worry about the changes I need to make right now. The truth is that God does not care what we did in the past for Him but wants our love right now and the demands of this love call for complete commitment. For He can only be Lord of all of what we are and anything less makes Him not Lord at all.
     There are some things not right in my relationship with God. In these things I might battle against them to the day I meet death. When I do see that day I hope to stand before the Lord not perfect but someone who is committed and who is far from being what a fan is. Just about every day I ask the master to help me to overcome this mentality to seek comfort in not being fully committed. I know it is not acceptable to Him and it should not be acceptable to any of His followers. In the end a fan has nothing less than a false hope and faith that really offers nothing to others. As the scripture teaches fans, “hold to an outward form of godliness but deny its power (2 Tim 3:5)”. It is true that God will be merciful to us for the times that we did not remain faithful but let us constantly use His mercy to return to the life of obedience.

3 comments:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. One of the comments of St. theophan the recluse was to stay or remember God during the day as much as you can.I try to do this by making the sign of the cross over my forehead with the prayer in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When someone says a negative thing to me I do this and peace returns. Taking 5 or 10 minutes of silence in the am and pm helps - Be still and know God. Praise to Jesus Christ!

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  2. Sir:
    In your most recent publication you use the term "aficionado." I don't know how familiar you may be with proper Castilian Spanish, but I would suggest that your choice of words here is inappropriate. You use it as a pejorative when even in its weakest applications it retains the honorific sense. Usually the term "aficionado" is understood to mean one who is an ardent devotee; that would be one who has a burning commitment to whatever the object may be, be it the music of Bach, the Byzantine Liturgy, or even the Christ. A typical characteristic of the aficionado is his silence in relation to his devotion
    The term you may have wished to use is rather "dilettante" which we have assimilated from the Italian. It is here that we have the "dabbler in an art or a field of knowledge." This is a person whose interest in a subject is superficial. They tend to be overflowing with opinions and insights which they do not hesitate to share, even though these insights are superficial and mundane. There is a world of difference between these two concepts.
    Thank you for your patience.
    Blessings and peace,
    br. jerry, Obl.SB

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    Replies
    1. My definition is based on the Merriam- Webster dictionary. Ardent devotees do not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Only those that become sons and daughters of the Most High.

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