by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward
My friend Jan was the ultimate high school football fanatic. When her son Clint played for the Midland High Bulldogs, she held back nothing. She even had purple highlights in her hair in honor of the Dawgs.
During Clint’s senior year, the Bulldogs got into the playoffs, so I invited myself along to a game. The kickoff was at noon. Jan arrived at the stadium at 9:45 am to get seats in the lower section on the 50-yard line. She suggested I bring ear plugs in case the cheering, jugs full of rocks, and cow bells got to be too much for my delicate ears. But Jan forgot to warn me to wear my most comfortable shoes. Bulldog parents do not sit down during the game except for time outs and half-time.
The Bulldogs’ parents are fanatics by definition. A fanatic is a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics (or West Texas football). These Bulldog fanatics are not ashamed of their Dawgs.
Their enthusiasm shows in their actions, their speech, and their attire. During that game I saw painted faces, purple shoes, purple sun glasses, and purple purses. Their attitudes and actions clearly show their love for their sons and their devotion to the team. They willingly travel great distances and sit out in inclement weather to show their support.
That experience got me thinking. I should be that enthusiastic about Jesus. Jesus calls us to be fanatical about Him: to have an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm and zeal for our Lord.
“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26, NLT).
If no one ever calls me a fanatic then I’m not following Jesus like I should be. True Christianity necessitates fanaticism. I love the apostle Paul’s example. He was definitely a Jesus fanatic. He lived full out for Jesus and held nothing back. “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8a, NLT). “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21, NLT).
Sounds just a bit crazy doesn’t it? Paul loved Jesus and he wanted everyone to know. I long to love Jesus so much that everyone thinks I’m a bit crazy too.
About the Author: A former “cultural Christian,” Kathy Howard now has a passion for God’s Word that’s contagious. She encourages women to get into God’s Word for themselves in order to build an unshakable faith that will stand firm through all the trials of life. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught the Bible in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events. She has a Masters in Religious Education and a certificate in Women’s Ministry from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary.
Kathy is the author of 8 books and Bible studies, including “Lavish Grace” and “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents.” She also writes for multiple online magazines and devotional sites. Kathy and her “mostly retired” husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, five grandchildren, and three dogs – one of them on purpose. She provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org. Kathy also connects with women at Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Join the conversation: Are you a Jesus fanatic? Are you willing to be a fool for Christ? Let’s talk about what this should look like in our lives.