Let's talk about the fanatic for a moment. The Jesus Fanatic.
I can honestly say that I have not been called a fanatic once. I’ve been called it thousands of times. It's one thing for the world to place that title over your head and put you in a box of exclusion. However, when other people of faith call you a fanatic with the obvious intention to hurt you, that's different. Let's talk about that.
Should Christians call each other fanatics?
I can not comprehend this. I don't get how people that recognise Jesus' name and love and live in it themselves -- or claim they do -- can call others of the same passion a fanatic.
I will always vouch for truth. For everything sprouts from it: understanding, wisdom, maturity. Our lives follow the small truths that are planted in us along the way. For example, if I say:
Jesus loves me. Then I’ll act with the confidence of knowing the Creator of the world cares about me and that I’m never alone.
He is a God who never changes. So then I’ll live with the peace of knowing that no matter the amount of mistakes I make, He will continue to welcome me into His courts with the same love he welcomed me the first time.
Songs are the same:
Jesus I need you more, more than words can say. I'll work to live in that truth until I feel exactly that. To live my life in a way that always yearns for more of Him, no matter how much it may seem like I already have.
This is how I fight my battles. I'll truly believe that my worship is a weapon that turns my enemy away trembling. I’m left with nothing but certainty and power that yet again, I have gained the victory in Christ.
So you see, all I’m doing is believing what I’m saying with my own mouth. The sad part is that so many sing these beautiful words or read aloud how powerful and unending God’s love is and yet still go on living as if no one loves them. There are many that proudly discuss of how God can change a man to become all that they were not, but when it comes to their own lives, they refuse to let God into even the smallest part. All out of fear that He will stir things up. The hard truth is that there is dishonesty in the church, so the simple answer is no. We should not call each other fanatics or insinuate that others are too serious, too extreme or over-the-top in their love for Christ because the very notion of that behaviour is the truth itself.
Should I be insulted?
The irony is that the very definition of a fanatic is someone that is filled with excessive and single-minded zeal. When you put it like that, it makes you realise what a compliment it is. In fact, you are following the word of God which says in Romans 12:11:
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
We shouldn't be judging someone that obeys the word of God, but we should admire it, use it to inspire our own faith and dedication.
If you love Jesus and have had the experience of receiving this kind of judgement before, I feel you. My whole life I've felt like I didn't fit in in this world. But now I know the real reason is because I truly don't. And neither do you. You belong to Christ, not down here. This Earth is no longer ruled by the Lord, but by self and the devil. Still, the Lord refuses to leave us stranded. He gives us life rafts full of His spirit: His presence brings heaven down in a rain of fire to remind us 'look up, this is where you belong'.
So just like Jesus, you may be insulted, humiliated, ridiculed for your faith, for loving Jesus -- and all by your own brothers and sisters -- but remember, everything has purpose.
"The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me." (Romans 15:3)
If you feel judged the same way, look at this verse from Romans 15:3. It speaks of how all the names that Jesus carried have now fallen on us. As we work to become more like Christ, we take on His whole life, His life as well as His reputation. Jesus wasn't exactly the popular guy. He was certainly known, that's for sure, but His reputation was more bad than good. He had more insults than He did compliments. And by the end, everyone forgot what was good about Him all together. Still, there was purpose in it: otherwise He wouldn't have had a reason to die, and he wouldn't have fulfilled the purpose that gives us eternal life today.
So call me what you want. If Jesus bore it, it is an honour for me to follow in His footsteps. And His insults too. There should be no room for offence, only power to build our integrity and the will to hold no resentment for people that are merely blind to the truth.
Why do I see other Christians as fanatics?
I’m sitting in a park writing this, there are children playing tag in the background, families having picnics in the sun, people walking their dogs and smiling at their pets’ ridiculous excitement to run around in the greenery. As I sit here, I can’t help but laugh to myself. The irony is outstanding. It’s hard enough to be faced with the enemy of darkness and fighting battles that come up against us day in and day out, but how foolish is it when we start attacking our very own allies? We’re in the middle of a peaceful park and instead of watching out for intruders, we aim at each other. And what’s our reason? Envy? Resentment? Judgement? I have a feeling this very notion, no matter the reason, denies us as true children of God all together.
If you call yourself a child of God, then stop trying to make the world happy at the same time. No man can serve two masters. When Jesus asks us to devote our lives to Him, He means our LIFE. Not our Sundays, or our hobbies, or even our time. So if you've noticed this perseverance in a sister or brother, maybe it's because you haven't fully devoted yourself to Christ, so watching someone else do it scares you. And then you turn to cruel words and insults. Perhaps it has you terrified that you will stand out the same way and be rejected by the world. So you choose to push the truth of that commitment out of your relationship with God and live in the 'almost': all whilst wondering why you don't have the same joy.
Or maybe fear isn't your reason at all. Maybe it's jealousy. Perhaps you wish you could have that passion and drive for Jesus, to have a relationship with Him that has His voice in your ear constantly. A relationship that has you weeping from your heart whenever you hear a worship song, and has you exploding with spiritual gifts and breakthroughs. It's okay, I've been there too. But we can all find that amount of intensity in Him.
When I was at school, I was a regular A and B student. Never consistent B's, never consistent A's. It was always a bit of both. But that inspired me to strive to get more A's. What I started to notice was how the A students acted. They were so competitive and obnoxious. They were practically fighting each other for that top grade, and what I never understood was why. There wasn't just one A for the whole class. The teacher could give an A+ to all twenty-five students if he wanted to: so why was everyone acting as though if one person got it, then everyone else would lose?
Remember, with Jesus, that kind of close relationship is limitless. Just because someone else has it, doesn't mean you can't.
I'm a fanatic for Jesus. And I'm proud of it.
I know one post on a random Christian blog amongst millions of others isn’t going to change the world: but what I do hope it does is speak to at least one person that has felt the same way I have. Feeling like loving the world leads you to nothing but darkness, and loving Jesus too much leads you to feeling like an alien that is never accepted and understood on this earth.
Well, I comfort you today with this one truth: the opinion of Jesus is the only one that matters. You know He loves you and wants more of you, so listen to Him and do as He says, regardless of consequence. Don’t worry about everyone else, your saviour and defender will deal with the rest.
The earth is temporary but His love and the home He's preparing for us is eternal. So what's a few years down here living in persecution, when we get an eternity in paradise with our one true love?