Summary: Kyle Idleman of Southeast Christian Church asks the hard questions about our level of commitment to Jesus and the faith.
D –T –R. Some of you will recognize what these letters stand for. How many of you know what the letters DTR stand for? For a young man in a relationship, these letters strike fear in their hearts. They dread the DTR talk. It makes single men so uncomfortable they will only use the initials DTR. The objective is to postpone, run away, and put off DTR for as long as possible. In fact many men are so afraid of the DTR, they will terminate the relationship when they sense the DTR talk is imminent. Now do you want to guess what DTR stands for? D.T.R. stands for Define the Relationship. This is an official talk that takes place at some point in a romantic relationship to determine the level of commitment. You define the relationship and decide where things stand – is it casual, or is it committed? I remember one time going on a date in high school and on the first date – she tried to have the DTR – and that relationship ended PDQ. I just ran away. But there comes a point when it’s important to Define the Relationship and you see if things have moved passed infatuation or admiration and moving towards deeper devotion and commitment. And how you feel about the DTR talk is determined by how committed you are to the relationship. If the relationship is one of convenience that you want to be just a casual weekend thing – then you will feel uncomfortable. You will feel anxious. Your mind will be flying with excuses…you may even have a fight or flight response.
Some of you may have those same feelings in the next few weeks, because we’re going
to have a little DTR talk. I want you to Define the relationship between you and Jesus. What exactly is the commitment level? Now I’m going to warn you that some of you are going to get a little uncomfortable, a little anxious…you may even have a fight or flight response because you kind of like the current arrangement you have with Jesus. He seems like a good guy – and you like having something to do on the weekends – what it comes down to is this - you want to have a relationship with Jesus with all the benefits but none of the commitment. A No Strings Attached arrangement – where you can connect with him from time to time – but it doesn’t really mess with your life. You want to be a fan of Jesus – but not a follower. In Luke 9:23 Jesus put it this way “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Followers deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him... A fan is simply defined as an enthusiastic admirer. And the DTR question is this:
Are you a fan or a follower?
As you read through the Gospels you will find example after example where Jesus will put people in a position where they must choose… Sometimes there were large crowds following him like in Luke 14 and John 6 – and Jesus would preach a sermon that would determine who in the crowd were fans and who were followers.
Jesus was never impressed by the size of this crowd, it’s the commitment level that he cares about. A concern I have with our churches today is that when we gather together - I think there is the possibility that instead of a community of followers we are nothing more than a stadium full of fans. Where we may wear a cross, but we don’t bear the cross. You can come to church, know all the songs, open your Bible and take notes, walk out to your car with a Jesus fish on the bumper and say grace before lunch, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a follower.
I think for years I was more fan than follower. (Michael Jordan Poster) In large part because I confused knowing about Jesus with knowing Jesus. But there is a difference between knowledge and intimacy. I grew up thinking it was my knowledge and my good behavior that made me a follower. I loved Jesus and I knew a lot about Jesus – but I didn’t know Jesus. I wasn’t talking to him about my day – I wasn’t listening for him to speak into my life. See, a lot of us don’t mind Jesus once a week on Sunday. We don’t mind making some minor change in our lives but Jesus wants to turn our lives upside down – we want him to do a little touch up work, but Jesus wants complete renovation – we come thinking tune-up but Jesus is thinking overhaul – we think just a little makeup is what we need and Jesus is thinking makeover. We think a little decorating is required, and Jesus wants a compete remodel.