Mike James, Pastor–Children and Young Families
A Fan or Follower
There is a book that was released a couple of years ago by Kyle Idleman called Not a Fan. It takes an honest look at our level of commitment to Christ. Are you a fan or are you an actual follower of Jesus? Many of us fall into the fan category; we like Jesus a lot and follow some of his teaching, but we don’t take everything fully to heart. It takes an extra measure of faith and surrender to become a follower of Jesus.
When we read the accounts of the Kings of Israel and Judah, we see a lot of fans of Jehovah. We also see many kings who were fans of only themselves! King Jehoshaphat of Judah was one of the “fan of God” kings. Jehoshaphat did many good things to help move his country closer to God. Jehoshaphat removed some of the Baal worship shrines from his country. He made peace with his sister country, Israel. Because of his faith in God, the Kings of Edom and Israel were blessed through their alliance with Judah and successful in battle against Moab.
However, Jehoshaphat did not fully commit and he did not fully remove the pagan practices that had crept into the culture (just as God predicted back in Judges 2:3). Jehoshaphat made a trade alliance with the wicked King Ahaziah without consulting God, and their fleet of ships met with disaster.
2 Chronicles 20:32-33 summarizes King Jehoshaphat’s reign: “Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.”
As a pastor and a father, the end of the last sentence sticks out to me. Because Jehoshaphat was not a full follower of God, his people “never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.” I desire to be a full follower of Christ. At my funeral, I do not want to be remembered as someone who was a fan of God, did good things, but never fully lived out a committed faith. I want to leave an example of a path to follow– not perfect by any means, but nonetheless someone who pointed others to jump into fully living with and for Christ.
Dear Father, please give me an undivided heart for you. Let my actions and my beliefs completely match. Holy Spirit, show me the areas of my life that I have not given to you to be changed. Give me the courage and faith for you to transform me. Jesus, thank you for loving me, guiding me, and forgiving me. I praise you for the change that has already happened in my life because of you, and I pray that you continue to change me so I can be a grace filled messenger of you to others. Amen.