Your Relationship With Jesus: Fan or Follower?
- Friday, July 06, 2012
Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 ("D.T.R.") of Kyle Idleman's's book, Not A Fan (Zondervan, 2011).
Are you a follower of Jesus?
I would say the chances are pretty good that you just skipped over that question. You may have read it, but I doubt it carried much weight or had any real impact. But would you let me ask you this question again? It’s the most important question you will ever answer.
Are you a follower of Jesus?
I know, I know. You’ve been asked this question before. Because it’s so familiar there is a tendency to dismiss it. Not because it makes you uncomfortable. Not because it’s especially convicting. The question is dismissed mostly because it feels redundant and unnecessary.
Many of us are quick to say, “Yes, I’m a follower of Jesus,” but I’m not sure we really understand what we are saying. To quote Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, “I do not think that means what you think it means.”
So where do you start in determining if you really are a follower of Jesus? How do you decide if this is even something you would want to consider? Let’s begin by having a D.T.r. talk with Jesus. Some of you will recognize what the letters D.T.r. stand for. If you’re not sure, let me give you a hint. For a young man involved in a romantic relationship, these letters are often enough to strike fear into his heart. He likely dreads the D.T.r. talk. In fact, many young men will postpone, run away from, and put off the D.T.r. for as long as possible. I have even known a few guys who have terminated the relationship when they sensed that the D.T.r. talk was imminent (true story: one of my friends faked hyperventilating to get out of the D.T.r. talk. By “one of my friends” I mean me).
Now do you want to guess what DTr stands for?
Define the relationship.
This is the official talk that takes place at some point in a romantic relationship to determine the level of commitment. You want to see where things stand and find out if what you have is real.
In high school I went out on a first date with a girl that I really didn’t know very well. We sat down in a booth at a restaurant and began the awkward first date conversation. During the appetizer I learned a
little bit about her family. While we enjoyed the main course she told me about her favorite movie. And then it happened. While we were eating our dessert she asked me, and I quote: “Where do you see this relationship going?” On the very first date she was trying to have the D.T.r. talk. I got out of there P.D.Q. That was the first and the last date.
I wasn’t ready for that moment, but there comes a time when you need to define the relationship. It can be awkward. It can be uncomfortable. But eventually every healthy relationship reaches a point when the D.T.r. talk is needed. Is it casual or is it committed? Have things moved past infatuation and admiration and towards deeper devotion and dedication? You need to intentionally evaluate the state of the relationship and your level of commitment to the person.
Whether you’ve called yourself a Christian since childhood, or all of this is new to you, Jesus would clearly define what kind of relationship he wants to have with you. He wouldn’t sugarcoat it or dress it up. He would tell you exactly what it means to follow him.
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