Canada…home of maple syrup, Tim Horton’s coffee and hockey. It would be safe to say that those Canadians who aren’t fans of hockey are rare. Yes, we may like our football and baseball too, but there seems to be something special about the sport of hockey in Canada. However, not all fans are “created equal.” Sports fans fall into one of two categories. They are what I call either the “faithful fans” or the “fickle fans.”
The Faithful Fan
The faithful fan is the deeply committed follower. They are not capricious in their loyalty, but are steadfast and unmovable. The best example I know of a faithful fan is my husband. At the age of eight he committed himself to being a Philadelphia Flyer’s fan, well after they had won the Stanley Cup in 1975 and their fame as the Broad Street Bullies had subsided. He has been faithful every since. It has not been easy, seeing we live in a city that is home to Sid the Kid. For the most part, here in Halifax the tide of popularity has shifted to the Pittsburgh Penguin franchise. Still, my husband chooses to wear proudly his Flyer’s jersey or ball cap and does not care if he is the only one! He has not chosen mindlessly to support the Flyers. He knows they have weaknesses and flaws. He realizes they may not always perform the way they should and they may not always win. His commitment, however, is not based on popularity or peer pressure. It is based on a deep, personal belief in the team in-which he is resolute.
Yet not all fans are faithful fans.
The Fickle Fan
The other type of fan is the fickle follower. These are your followers that jump on the bandwagon when a team is winning or has become popular with their peers. They will wear the jersey and cheer loudly… until the superstar has been traded or the losing streak begins. Then, because their commitment is only superficial, their fancy for that team dims with the limelight and is often placed elsewhere.
Let’s be honest. Fickle fans or followers are not real fans. We recognize true fans by their attitudes and their actions.
Just like sports fans, Christians may appear fickle or faithful (Matt 7:21).
However, scripture is clear. You are either a Christ follower or you are not.
It is true that as Christ followers, we still struggle with our old sin nature, but through Jesus’ power we are able to have victory! We may fall into sin from time to time, but as true Christ followers, we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:1-5). The Holy Spirit is the One who leads us daily into holiness and spiritual maturity. When the Holy Spirit reveals sin in our lives, we are to confess it, repent and turn from it.
However, rather than fully committing to Christ, some who call themselves “Christians” have instead chosen to follow a particular denomination because it fits with the level of commitment they are willing to make.
Some have chosen to hop on the bandwagon of a certain church because it has a trendy worship band or a fantastic media presentation or because it has the largest crowds. Some follow charismatic pastors or speakers because they have pleasing messages. Then, because their commitment is only superficial, their fancy for God’s team dims with the limelight or when the first crisis hits.
What are the attitudes that reveal that I am a true Christ follower?
Matthew, chapters five through seven, are home to the most famous sermon of all time – the Sermon on the Mount.
Who preached the Sermon on the Mount?
The greatest preacher of all times….Jesus (Matt 5:1).
To whom is He speaking?
Even though some of the crowd or multitude followed them up the hill, Jesus was addressing His disciples (Matt 5:1, 7:28).
The Sermon on the Mount begins with what is often referred to as, “The Beatitudes”.
I call them the “Tudes2Be.”
Some have misinterpreted the Beatitudes (Tudes2Be) as steps you must climb to reach God. However, the Beatitudes are not a way to obtain salvation but they are the product resulting from salvation. In other words, we do not live this way in order to become believers. Salvation is not up to us, it is a gift from God (Titus 3:5). The Tudes2Be are characteristics displayed by those who have accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
They are the “must have” characteristics of every disciple of Christ. They should not be lofty “aspirations or ideals” we are haphazardly shooting for but are not certain we can reach and aren’t bothered if we do not. These nine simple goals should be the desire and aim of every believer’s life.
Join with me over the next few weeks as we climb with our mind’s eye, up a mountain by the Sea of Galilee, as Jesus reveals to us what it really means to be called His disciple.
“The Beatitudes are a call to us to see ourselves, to live with ourselves, in a way that probably does not come easily to most of us.”
“Father, give us fresh ears and eyes and receptive hearts as we seek to sit at your feet and learn what YOU said were the requirements needed to be a disciple. May we allow the Holy Spirit, over the next few weeks, reveal to our hearts the true state of our discipleship. Amen”