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Fanatic: What Does It Really Look Like To Be Unashamed of Jesus?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” – Romans 1:16

The word “fanatic” often reminds me of those bent towards destruction, not those who are devoted to all that is good. However, when the word “fanatic” is applied to a follower of Jesus, that should suggest a life consumed with love, joy, peace, grace, and mercy.

It’s hard being a follower of Jesus and living in a wealthy country like the United States, not because there’s such a high cost, but because there are so many distractions. We read about Jesus in the Scriptures and he fascinates us with his words about the real things of life…Then we step back into a materialistic and self-consumed world that points us the opposite direction of the ways of Christ.

Whenever I hear of accounts of Christians being killed for their faith (martyred) around the world, it always pinches me to wake up from my stupor. Things aren’t as they appear. In the United States and in much of the free world, it is a right and a privilege to follow Jesus. Yet, many are being massacred around the world because they are fanatics for Jesus in a land where his name is forbidden.

Most likely, you are reading this from a country where you have the legal rights to be a Christian. I want to emphasize: this isn’t about us feeling “guilty” that we have it so easy. There will always be someone better off and someone worse off than you…It’s not about comparison. The real question is this:

Why are we – Christians in the free world – so hesitant to become fanatics for Jesus, spreading hope, life, love, peace, and grace to a hurting world?

In the United States, we have pastors “adjusting” the Scriptures to tickle our ears, yet our hearts are craving truth. In the United States, we have churches still living in 1950’s legalistic tradition because that’s how they’ve “always done it”, yet they are completely oblivious to the world that needs the Gospel all around them. In the United States, we are so consumed by our selfish desires that we don’t invite Jesus into every facet of our lives, for fear that he will hold us accountable for our greed.

In 1996 I was introduced to the song “Jesus Freak” by dc Talk. As one of the most popular Christian rock hits of all time, it has always been an anthem for fanatics, not lukewarm Christianity from the comfortable confines of American cathedrals. The question in the song that permeates all Christian pretense is when they ask, “What will people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus freak?”

That’s a great question…What will people think?

What will my friends, my family, and my world think if I choose to follow after Jesus?

What if my peers and managers at work find out that I am a follower of Jesus? What if that impedes my speed up the ladder of financial success?

The sinful nature within humanity craves power and success; a soul awakened by the Gospel craves grace and mercy.

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.” – Søren Kierkegaard

This quote is fascinating…The contrast of power craved within the heart of sinful humanity to the power overflowing from the heart of awakened humanity. The world’s desires will fade, but a life lived for Jesus will last for eternity.

Being a Jesus fanatic is about sharing the hope of the Gospel, loving the lesser-knowns, offering radical grace, trusting Jesus with our lives, setting our eyes on what matters to God’s heart, and sparking an awakening within the souls of humanity. That can happen within the walls of a corporation, in our homes, in our art, in our relationship, in our investments, in our pursuits, in our endeavors, and in our mundane routines of each day.

Even the most self-consumed human being on the planet is a fanatic…About themselves.

We’re all fanatics.

To whom do you pledge allegiance?