In his excellent book, “Not a Fan”, Kyle Idleman makes the point that if we are to be true followers of Christ then it requires us to define the relationship. In other words, what does it mean to be a follower? It is more than simply believing in Christ and it is more than living a good life. Following Jesus means that we must be willing to give up everything we own and all that we are. Our hopes, dreams, aspirations and possessions belong to God, and if we would follow Him, we must not try to keep any of those things for ourselves.
In the book, Idleman quotes Revelation 3:15-16, where Jesus is addressing the church in Laodicea and states that”I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.” The author goes on to say that “Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Everything in moderation’; He says you can’t be my follower if you don’t give up everything. His invitation is an all or nothing invitation. Jesus has defined the relationship He wants with you. He is not interested in enthusiastic admirers who practice everything in moderation and don’t get carried away. He wants completely committed followers.” (Luke 9:23; Luke 14:25-26; Luke 18:18-23)
So how do you define the relationship you have with Jesus Christ? Is it something you committed to when you were younger and have kind of kept on the backburner as the years have gone by? Is it something you pull out of the closet on Sunday mornings and on the occasional get together with Christian friends? Is it simply a moral code by which you live, or perhaps a family tradition that has been handed down to you? If any of the above hits a little too close to reality for you, it’s time to take a hard look at who Jesus Christ really is in your life. To be a follower of Jesus is to be an imitator of Him. You cannot do this relationship half way any more than you can do any relationship half way. In fact, there is no such thing as a partial commitment. Commitment implies devotion and if you can’t give your whole heart to Jesus then you might as well not give any piece at all; you’re simply wasting your time.
Jesus wants it all. In fact, if you would follow Him, He demands it all. He is the Creator and king of the Universe. He is worthy of all our praise, devotion and honor. Except for Christ we would have none of the things we are refusing to give up; to be His follower is indeed an all or nothing invitation. There is no Jesus and something else; there is only Jesus. How will you define your relationship with Him? Will you submit everything to Him? Will you follow Him wherever He leads, no matter what it might cost you? Will you leave behind everything you own and all those you love for the sake of following Him? These are not questions to be answered lightly, but they are questions that must be answered. When it comes to following Jesus, it is time to define the relationship.