With the Super Bowl just a few days away, I thought I would share this little Ah-Ha moment.
A few weeks ago my extended family came together in celebration of my aunt’s birthday. As people gathered, good-natured ribbing began among the men concerning their favorite college teams. In our neck of the woods, those rival teams are the Georgia Bulldogs and the Carolina Gamecocks.
During the course of the evening, my cousin (a die-hard Carolina fan) began quizzing the children as to who was a Carolina fan and who was a Bulldog fan. I piped up saying most were Carolina fans.
In response, my brother-in-law (a die-hard Georgia fan) with a shake of the head simply stated, “They’re not real fans.”
You know, he was right. I looked around the room and there were numerous shirts, caps, and jackets sporting logos of the two rival teams but in essence, there were only a few true fans.
If you ask me what’s my college football team; I will tell you that I am a Carolina fan. Growing up the adults around me were Carolina fans so by default I became one. USC is my alma mater. As a family we are planning to decorate one of our rooms with Gamecock decor. My child goes to sleep with a plush Cocky by her side. However, we are not real fans.
A real fan would know the team coaches, the players, the position each played, game stats, season schedule, and polling rank. A real fan has season tickets or at least watches every game. A fan mourns the losses and celebrates the wins. A fan remains true even when the team repeatedly disappoints them and gives them nothing to cheer about.
I, on the other hand, have every outer semblance of being a fan. My loyalty never waivers; I will always say I am a Carolina fan. My family has jewelry, clothing, blankets, purses, mugs, and car flags all sporting the Carolina logo. (Let’s face it; you can pick up most of these items at your local dollar store.) However, that is as far as my investment goes. If I happen to catch a bit of the game – great. If not, so what? I may find out the score or I may not even know who my team is playing on a particular weekend. Most of my knowledge comes second hand. You could plant the Gamecock’s wide receiver in the chair beside me and I probably wouldn’t recognize him. I am most definitely not a serious fan.
God used this moment to ask me if I were a real fan of Him and the gospel. Did I have the outer appearance of being a fan but not the dedication it takes to be a true fan? How many of us go to church, wear our clothing with Christian logos, have the fish emblem plastered on our vehicle but we don’t know the players of the game. How well do we really know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Would we recognize God if he came and sat down beside us?
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 (NIV)
In order to be a real fan of the gospel we have to not be ashamed of it. You would think that those who sport Christian logos would have the “ashamed” factor covered. However, not being ashamed means doing more than putting on outward appearances and calling ourselves a Christian. It means truly understanding that the gospel has the power to bring salvation. It means getting passionate about the gospel to the point that we want to talk about it and share its’ wisdom because we know that it has the power to change lives. It means getting serious and obtaining first hand knowledge of who our Redeemer truly is and allowing Him to become real to us.
A real fan remains true to God and the gospel even in the times when God seems to be silent or in times of trial. A fan remains steady when their reality and the gospel’s promises seem to be opposite. In essence a real fan does not base their relationship with Christ on the whims of this life but are die-hard in their belief that God is who He claims to be and will do what He says he will do. A real fan does not waiver. A fan of the gospel says, “Bring it on life. My God can handle whatever play you throw my way.”
What about you? Are you a true fan of the gospel? I am striving to become better fan because let’s face it, God doesn’t just want us to be fans, he is really calling us to be players….but we will leave that for another day.