Follower or fan

I’ve always considered myself a Christian.

It sounds crazy when it is put  in writing but when I think about it, it is mind blowingly crazy. I believe that God, the creator and king, sent his son in human flesh to show us all first hand, how to live and to love. I also believe he was killed an innocent man to take away my sin and that miraculously, he rose three days later.

I believe that death could not hurt him, I believe that his ‘way’ is ‘truth’ and through him, I believe we have ‘life’. That makes me a disciple … doesn’t it?

I began a study series with a group of my closest friends cum family last night on Francis Chan’s book, now movement, Multiply. Francis asked the same question I did above, “Do you consider yourself a disciple?”

We we took a look at the dictionary definition …

Disciple: a follower or pupil of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.

… I was confronted with what I have now accepted as truth. I am not a follower of Jesus but a fan of his work.

The disciples of Jesus followed him like the plague, they were never far from him physically but hang on each and every one of his teachings. They strictly obeyed his command to share the good news with the world and as a result, became more like their teacher and leader with each day.

In contrast; I go to church most Sunday’s, pray with varying levels of motivation and periods of time in between and find myself leaving my faith out of conversations (rationalised by saying that I’m trying to spread his love in relationships) rather than adding it in … every chance that I get.

“Like a Jesus groupie?” someone asked.

“Not even” The truth hit hard. “If Jesus were a band, I wouldn’t even be at his live shows.”

Can you remember the last time you laid an hour down for the Lord? I don’t even want to mention laying down a day, week or year.

As it turns out, I am a massive fan of his work, I really enjoy hearing about what he is doing and from time to time I’ll tell others of my ‘favourite band’.

I still consider myself a Christian but also a fan who wants to get closer to his idol.

Love yourself and you’ll find you’re not alone

First of all l want to take the opportunity to say that I realise low self esteem isn’t something we choose. It is however all too common in our world not to fight the negative effects it has on our neighbours.

Dear neighbour, are there mirrors in your house?

Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t an accusation of hypocrisy. Just an honest question. If you’re one of the billions to label themselves ‘ugly’, ‘fat’ or a combination of both, you’ll not only know exactly where each mirror is but the location of every surface.

I urge you to take a good look in the biggest mirror your own.

What do you see? Take another look and this time seek the reflection just past the hideous monster you saw previously. Discard the opinions of the world along with your pre conceived thoughts on your own appearance.

Two eyes, two ears and a nose and a mouth, you’re blessed beyond belief.

You have sight, sound and the ability to share your thoughts. The emotional walls you’ve built around yourself are not required. You don’t have to do anything yet your heart beats and your lungs fill with air. You are beautiful, made perfect in creation.

What do others think of you?

It would be perpetuating a cliché to say “it doesn’t matter what other people think” or to “not worry about it”, so I won’t. The reality is that we have been made to live in relationships, to share our thoughts, emotions and lives. What those close to you matter, I get that but I also know life is a battle if you cannot rise above it.

The world doesn’t hate you!

Despite what has happened in the past and what you believe people think of you, the world doesn’t hate you.

So here’s the challenge…

Look into that mirror and find something to love about yourself … anything. It is my hope that this seemingly insignificant finding will be the start of much bigger journey in your life. A journey of discovery, healing and growth. A period of life that will redefine the way you think about yourself, the world and the people around you that previously controlled your emotions.

I’ll end this in the same way the great NYC preacher, Carl Lentz, begins his messages “turn to the person next to you and say you look awesome today“.

Never underestimate the effect you have in this world!