Casual Observer or Hardcore Fan?

James 2:17-20 NLT - So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 

A sports adage goes something like this, “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle (the game).”  A similar saying for Christian living goes like this: “If you live for God ‘easy’, it’s hard.  But if you live for God ‘hard’, it’s easy.”  God recruits hardcore fanatics for Christ not casual observers of His kingdom.  Echoing Monday’s message, commitment-dodgers are those who are more the observers in terms of worship, small group ministry, serving the church, and being passionate about Christ’s mission to seek and save the lost.  Meanwhile, spiritual giants desire to be “all in” - fully committed to the Lord, the mission, and the “team”.  The reality is true of sports and Christian living - the more you embrace the discipline of “practicing hard”, the more you enjoy success and victory.  Have you ever noticed that the less extreme you practice your faith the more you actually suffer in the game of life?  How might you encourage someone to make the next steps from “casual observer” of Christ to “hardcore fanatic” of Christ?  

Luke 9:23-24 NLT - Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 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.