Not a Fan (Zondervan, 2011)
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus is the first book by Pastor Kyle Idleman. His second book, Gods at War, previously was annotated in Crown’s bibliography. Pastor Idleman begins by observing that whenever Jesus spoke to a large crowd, most often the message He preached would cause the people to leave. They were fans, not followers. The author wants us to thoughtfully examine ourselves as we consider this question: “Are you a follower of Jesus?” One way or another, in word or in deed, we will all answer that question. It is important to understand, Pastor Idleman asserts, that following Jesus will interfere with our lives- it always costs something.
Following Jesus is a pursuit that requires everything we have, yet it is the best investment that we will ever make. Belief and commitment are the “heart and lungs” of faith. One cannot live without the other. Jesus doesn’t want first place in our lives, He wants to be our one and only. As the author notes, this requires knowledge as well as intimacy:
“Clearly, where there is intimacy there should be a growing knowledge, but too often there is knowledge without a growing intimacy.”
Obedience to God comes from the inside out. We can’t follow Jesus without being filled daily with the Holy Spirit. Attempting to go the self-empowered route makes us frustrated by our failures and exhausted by our efforts. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must be emptied of ourselves. As we become emptied, we can follow Jesus as authentic witnesses, our lives truly reflecting what we confess we believe. Taking the path of following Jesus means that we are walking away from a different path. As servants (slaves) of Jesus, we find ultimate freedom to willingly follow Jesus wherever.