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Many people like Jesus. They like his teaching, his care for the poor, his sense of justice, and his compassion toward everyone. Most people are a fan of Jesus, but that’s not what Jesus wants from us.

Jesus didn’t come to the earth to make fans. He came to make followers, or, as we may call them, disciples. So, the question is, are you a fan of Jesus, or a follower? Here is how to tell the difference.

How important is your relationship with God?

Jesus came to earth to give us a relationship with God. Jesus wasn’t just a teacher or a miracle worker. He is God who came to earth, died on the cross, and rose from the dead so that we can be saved from our sins. This is what gives us a relationship with God. And Jesus said that this relationship with God is the most important thing in your life.

Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

A fan of Jesus thinks that Jesus is a real cool guy, but doesn’t worry about loving God with all of their hearts. They still love themselves the most, or something else in life. A follower of Jesus loves God above all else.

Do you have any unrepentant sin in your life?

No one is perfect, except Jesus. We all struggle with sin. But if you are going to be a student leader then you need to actively deal with the sin in your life. This means that when you recognize you’ve sinned, what’s your response? The Bible says that the right response is repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

This verse discusses repentance. Repentance means that you recognize the problem with your sin. You see that it is sin against God. It hurts your relationship with him. And it hurts other people.

Sometimes when we sin we feel sorry, but we are just sorry that we got caught sinning. We are sorry for the consequences. That’s not repentance. When you repent, you are ready to take the steps to help you avoid that sin in the future.

A fan of Jesus doesn’t experience repentance. They feel bad when they sin, but they aren’t willing to do anything about it. A follower of Jesus repents when they realized they’ve sinned, or when someone points it out to them.

Why do you want to be a student leader?

It’s important that you understand your motives for wanting to be a student leader. Do you want to be a student leader because it will give you more visibility in your youth group, or because it might impress people? Do you want to be a student leader just to please your parents or a pastor? If so, then you are acting like a fan of Jesus, not a follower.

A follower of Jesus will want to be a student leader because they want to grow in their own pursuit of God, and they want to help other students grow too. A real student leader, a follower of Jesus, understands that life is about following God, no matter what he asks you to do.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this article? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. What’s the difference between a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus?
  4. Read Matthew 22:37-38. How well do you do at following this command? Explain your answer.
  5. Is there any unrepentant sin in your life that would disqualify you from being a student leader? If so, talk about it with your mentor. (It’s always better to deal with in the present than to wait for the future).
  6. Why do you want to be a student leader? Be honest with your answer.
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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