Summary: So are you fanatically devoted to Jesus because you love God? Here are two ways you can know the answer to this question.
fanatic: "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion" Merriam-Websters Dictionary
Does this word define how you follow Jesus? Last year we went through the "Not a Fan" Small Group experience. Kyle Idleman, the author of the series, defined the word "fan" as an enthusiastic admirer. We're more comfortable being fans than fanatics. When we shorten the word to fan we identify with the folks who are in the stands watching the game, they paint their face, wear the jersey, they chant, sing, and yell really loud when their team scores. Fans don't play the game. They don't suit up or practice and they certainly don't coach, although many fans think they can coach better especially after a loss. But a fanatic is something different. When we use the whole word it's usually to describe something negative about a person and their character and/or behavior. For example, we don't usually talk in a positive light about religious fanatics or political fanatics. We use words like extremists or radicals to define fanatics.
I wonder how many of us would be uncomfortable with the idea that Jesus expects his followers to be fanatically devoted to Him and His teaching. Jesus shares with His followers the first thing He expects of them is that they will "deny themselves" to follow Him. Those who, guided by God, wrote the New Testament, expounded on what this means. Paul said it this way, "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world." Colossians 3:5
There are a lot of other verses in the Bible that explain how followers deny themselves to follow Jesus. We don't have time to read them all but here's a list for you to read if you want to know more about how to live a fanatically devoted life for Jesus by denying yourself.
The truth is clear that God expects followers of Jesus to live His way instead of their own way. We make decisions based on our fanatical devotion to live for Jesus every day. So I don't want to take up a lot of time discussing how we live but I do want to take some time to talk about why. Why do we devote our lives to Jesus Christ? We want to answer this question because I'm convinced there are a lot of folks who would claim to be Christians but don't know why they should follow Jesus. The reason I believe this is because I've heard too many people give the wrong reasons for why they live the way they do. For example, if I asked, "Why do we bless people in need of help?" The wrong response is, "Because they need help." Or, "Because God told us to."
The correct response is, "Because we love God." When we help someone we do so because we are motivated by our love for God. So then as we are blessing them we explain to them how God is working through us. And more importantly they see Jesus in us. This is the reason we do everything we do, "Because we love God." Our greatest privilege as followers of Jesus is to point people to Jesus. This is why we are fanatically devoted to Him. So everyone will see who Jesus is. The Savior of the world. The Boss of everything.
So are you fanatically devoted to Jesus because you love God? Here are two ways you can know the answer to this question.
1. You love the Word of God.
"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." Hebrews 4:12
If you love God you love His Word. There's just no way around this. Devoted followers of Jesus who love God are in tune with His Word. They're not perfect because no one is, but, they live for the Truth and they know the Truth because they love the Truth. In the first few years of our marriage Kristi wanted me to take more of a Spiritual lead in our family. She felt that it would be better if I were the one to call our kids for a family worship time, or if I would be the one to read the Bible to them and pray with them. I thought that she could do just as well as I with this stuff so even though I participated, I didn't take the lead. I was a busy guy. Kristi didn't complain or whine and she didn't press me about it, but, what I didn't know was that she was praying about it. She prayed every day that I would be the Spiritual leader in our home.