Steven James in Story shares this quote from Soren Kierkegaard, an existential philosopher:
The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.
Am I really a follower or Jesus, or am I just an admirer?
James goes on to write...
We prefer dragging our nets onshore with us so we can have the best of both worlds. But of course that never works - you can't follow Jesus while you're dragging your old life along behind you. If you try to, you'll end up losing out on both. Every once in a while I get caught doing it - trying to pursue both what Jesus has to offer and what the world has to offer. But it's useless because they lie in opposite directions.
James writes this on sharing our faith...
Jesus approached evangelism quite differently than most churches today. Too many twenty-first century churches treat sharing Jesus's story like a marketing campaign. They try to make Christianity seem as appealing, plausible, relevant, and easy to digest as possible by emphasizing the benefits of belief. But Jesus almost never did that. Typically he emphasized the cost of following him, not the rewards. Here's what he hold the crowds who had started following him: "Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can't be my disciple. (Luke 14:33 Message)
There's no fine print in Jesus's call to discipleship. "This is what it's gonna cost you," he says. "Everything. Family relationships, possessions, dreams, comfort, time - you can't be my follower unless you give up everything. You have to leave your nets behind. So what do you say? Will you follow me, or just keep admiring me?"
On Sunday night, we invited our teens to leave a mistake they've made at the cross. It's amazing to see God working in their hearts as they consider what it means to be more than an admirer of Christ. And in middle school and high school, being a follower of Christ isn't easy. These teens are incredible.