Fan or Follower: Define Your Relationship with Jesus


From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him. John 6:66


I recently came across Kyle Idlerman's book, Not a Fan, at a second-hand bookstore. I love sports, and the title immediately interested me. In the world of sports, we are well acquainted with fans. But Jesus was never interested in having fans or admirers sitting and cheering on the sidelines. So how does one become a committed follower of Him? 

Suppose you are sitting in a coffee shop at the end of a training session. Jesus walks in and sits next to you. He skips past the small talk, looks into your eyes and asks you to define your relationship with Him. He is asking, "Are YOU a fan or a follower?"

A typical fan knows a lot about a person or team and cheers when all is well. But they don’t really know the person and walk away when it is a difficult season for them. A follower is loyal, no matter the the ups or downs of the team, we’re in it for the long haul. Many churches have also gone from being sanctuaries to becoming stadiums. Fans want to be close to Jesus for the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.

We sometimes use the "compare ruler" to measure (or define) our relationship with Jesus. Am I more spiritual than the next person? I am more religious; I go to church weekly; I behave well; I volunteer; I do not watch R-rated movies; I am not a drinker; and I know the Bible well. These are all just acts or deeds, it’s your relationship with Christ that matters most. 

John 6:26-27, Jesus speaks to the crowd that were “looking” for Him. He urges them to not look for what can fill them but what will sustain them for a lifetime. This type of act requires our following.


Now look in the mirror, and honestly ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Do you sometimes, confuse admiration for Jesus with devotion? What are some ways you can become a more devoted follower of Christ?
  • Is it possible for me to confuse my knowledge of Jesus with intimacy with Him? How can you develop intimacy with Christ?

John 6:22-66


“Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and Your love in my life. I want to be a follower of You – not just a fan. Help me to define our relationship honestly and biblically. In Jesus’ name, amen.”