I am excited with and for my granddaughter Samantha who is being confirmed today. Most Christian traditions that do infant baptism also do confirmation. It’s a admission that at some point each of us has to make a personal decision to follow Christ. In the Methodist tradition this can occur more than once. That makes sense to me. We are frequently having to confirm our commitment to Jesus.
I like to think of it as moving from being just a fan of Jesus to being one of His followers. Jesus called each of the disciples to “follow” HIm. He didn’t ask them to study Him or appreciate, honor or even worship Him. His command and/or invitation is to follow. Following is different from fandom in three important ways.
- To Know and not just know about. I am a fan of many athletes. I don’t know any of them. If I approached them on a personal matter they would say what Jesus said, “I never knew you.” I follower is in intimate relationship with Jesus and has much more than head knowledge of Him.
- To seek his face and not his hands. Lots of fans want something from Jesus. They are like the crowds that benefited from the miracle of the loaves and fishes. They came back the next day wanting more. Not more of Jesus but more bread and fish. Immature Christians, fans if you will, seek the miracles. They want healing, provision, problems removed, gifts given. The follower wants Jesus. They know He is all they need, not because of what He can give, but because of who He is.
- His in every weather not just when it’s fair. Fans tend to be fair weather types. The year that the Saints won the Super Bowl I saw Saints gear on folks who couldn’t name a single player in earlier years. In the years since the number of fans has returned to the old levels. Fans are in when things are good. Followers are in forever. We trust Jesus when the sun shines and when it rains. We trust Him on mountain tops and in valleys. He is forever ours and we are forever his.
Samantha I rejoice with you today on your confirmation and I use the opportunity to reconfirm my own struggling status as a follower, always working to leave fandom behind. Be blessed my girl.