By Kyle Idleman
A Christian father was getting ready to give his Christian daughter in marriage to an atheist, and he was rightly concerned about it. So he asked me, as a pastor, to meet with the young man. A pastor having lunch with an atheist sounds like the beginning of a joke, but he and I hit it off immediately and talked for hours. After he told me his story, I presented the gospel to him. It was the first time he had heard most of what I shared. At the end of our conversation, we prayed together, and he repented of his sins and confessed that he believed Jesus is the Son of God. I was amazed that God crossed our paths at just the right time.
The young couple got married and the husband’s new faith and commitment grew rapidly. One day after about a year, he called me. He had been married for 8 months and told me that things were going well. But he went on to explain that his father-in-law was upset with him, and he wanted to ask me what he should do.
His father-in-law felt that his son-in-law should “throttle back” his faith. Apparently, he had been taking God’s Word seriously in the area of tithing, and his father-in-law felt the money would be better used saving for a house. The older man also disapproved of his son-in-law’s decision not to work on Sunday so he could worship God in church. The father-in-law said, @@“I’m really glad you’ve become a Christian, but Jesus never wanted you to become a fanatic.”@@ In other words, “I’m glad you’re following Jesus, but why don’t you put your cross down?”
Jesus, though, makes it clear that a decision to follow him is a decision to die to yourself. He didn’t come to this earth to modify your behavior or tweak you personality or fine-tune your manner or smooth out your rough spots. Jesus didn’t even come to earth to change you, making you a new and improved version of yourself. The truth of the gospel is that Jesus came so that you would die to your old way of life – and then live a new life for him. He came so that you would be like him. If you want to be his disciple, you must take up your cross daily and follow him.
In what ways is your story like the young man’s above? In what ways can you resonate with the father-in-law?
What does your cross look like? Describe areas of your life that you have sacrificed (or that you need to sacrifice) in order to fully follow Jesus. Meditate on this for a few minutes: If some one who knew you before you became a Christian were to describe how you’ve changed, what would they say? Would they accuse you of becoming a fanatic? I encourage you to share your thoughts below.
Content from "Following Jesus When People Think You're A Fanatic" was taken from "Where Is Your Cross" in the book, not a fan. daily devotional: 75 Days to Becoming a Completely Committed Follower Of Jesus written by Kyle Idleman
By Kyle Idleman Grace isn’t something you dissect and define. It's something that collides with and forever changes your life. But it's not as easy as it sounds, because before your life can collide with grace, you must first collide with the reality of your sin.
By Kyle Idleman Mr. Williams looked up from the starched white bed sheets to his nurse and asked, “Would you call my daughter Janie and tell her that I have had a mild heart attack? She is the only family that I have.” His eyes welled up with tears and his respiration sped up...
By Kyle Idleman They both sinned, in very similar ways, with a very similar effect. You might say even oddly similar. Except the rest of their stories could not be more different. Why? Because one missed out on the grace of God.
By Kyle Idleman Her eyes filled with tears as she told me her story of addiction and regret. Then she asked, “Do you think I’m good enough to be baptized?” She just couldn’t imagine God would still want her.
By Vince Antonucci Hagar felt mistreated, abandoned, rejected, and absolutely alone, and so she ran. She ran, feeling like no one knew or cared what she was going through. What Hagar didn’t know was that God knew.
By Vince Antonucci Our souls are fragile, the world is sinful, and we try to escape the damage or the bad feelings by hiding. We may not realize it, but a lot of what we do is driven by our soul needing a safe place to hide.
By Vince Antonucci God is calling us out of hiding and into an authentic, fully transparent relationship with Him. That may scare us, but deep down it’s what we long for.
Vince Antonucci God doesn’t fit in our boxes. If I could fully understand God, he’d have to be less complex than the directions on my new IKEA furniture, and, I suspect, we’d all be in trouble.
By LeighAnne Turner Once we encounter grace, it transforms our desires, motivations and behavior and brings us to a pivotal moment where we become compelled to extend grace to those around us.
By Kyle Idleman God is continually at work within us, molding us into the image of Jesus. It’s not only a process, it's a partnership. God doesn’t force transformation on us; we work with him on it.
By Caleb Kaltenbach When people we love come to us and tell us about a part of their life that is out of line with Scripture, how should we respond? We can kick them out of our life. We can ignore it. We can change our beliefs so there’s no tension. Or we can keep loving them AND hold our beliefs firm.
VIDEO BLOG Jackie Hill-Perry is a writer and hip-hop artist who grew up in church, but didn't have a relationship with Christ. She found meaning in the love AND APPROVAL of other women, but God had a better plan for her.