Christianity demands followership, not fan
To be a believer is one thing and to be a disciple is another. One can be a believer but is not willing to carry the cross brought by the demand of his faith. Some may believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord, but may be ashamed or may not see the rational in identifying with Christian groups in his/her community or office. This attitude is the trademark of ordinary believers, many of who claim to be Christians but hate the work of righteousness and evangelism.
These kinds of Christians do not stand firm to defend Christianity even when situation demands it. It is not their business if the enemies of faith attack a Church, neither does it concern them when a man of God is persecuted or mocked. They always join hands with the wicked to stop a preacher in the bus from doing evangelism. On many occasions, they are the real problems of Christianity because they help to whip up sentiment against those that are following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Evangelism is like a taboo to them, as they wish that every Christian should end their spiritual commitment to only the level of belief.
Jn 8: 30-31 says, “As he spake these words, many believed in him. 31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed in him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Fans of a football star are passionate about him, but will never wish to subscribe to the rigorous exercises the footballer engages himself. Besides singing praises, the fans also put on cloths with inscription of the football star. But when it comes to passing through the rudiments of becoming a star, the fan will not be involved in any such things. But a follower would like to eat such food as the football star eats, drink same water and receive same training.
As some people admire a football star, so also some people in Christendom admire our Lord Jesus Christ but do not like to follow His footstep. They took the names of the Apostles but won’t like to them. And these people were the people our Lord Jesus Christ addressed in the passage above. They were neither heathen nor unbelievers. He was speaking to those that He had converted through His preaching, those that have believed in Him. Those who had known Him and believed in what He can do. They were not in doubt of His doctrine but have chosen to remain as fans only, because they were not ready to follow His sound teaching.
They “believed in Him” but their faith was not yet made perfect by obedience. For them to be real followers (Christians), they must have their faith tested. They must let their neighbours know about their faith by showing obedience to His commandments and living a holy life, for this would be a proof that their faith was genuine, for the tree is known by its fruit. Discipleship (followership) is an abiding condition; it is a life, not an act. So if the level of your Christianity has ended at the point of just believing, then you should not be too confident in your faith because it has not been tried and if tried, has not produced a holy life, without which, it is vain.
For a mere believer to be a follower of Jesus, he must move to the next level of his faith, which will nourish his status as believer and gives him the confidence of making heaven at last, for this is the true test of Christian character. Jesus entreated them to continue in the teaching, which they have received, for in doing so, they shall be made free. It is not enough to receive God’s Truth; we must retain and walk in it. And it is only when we receive the truth, love it, keep it, and walk in it, that we are genuine Disciples of Christ and by extension, His followers. So, what Christianity demands is only a continued belief of His word and obedience to His commands.
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