Watching the Green Bay Packers on television does not make one a professional football player. Sitting in church does not mean someone is a Christian. In responding to some critics among him about doing the work of casting out demons, Jesus summarized his actions and the actions of others in this way: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Jesus was all about the kingdom of God breaking-in to this fallen world and transforming everything. That meant the kingdom of darkness was going to be pushed back. Participating with Jesus in his kingdom enterprise is a watershed test of whether someone is genuinely following God or not. There are a million armchair quarterbacks who will freely give their advice and opinion about how things should have gone and what those playing ought to be doing. Jesus was and is calling people out to get off their butts and follow him. Only watching him is to be against him, not for him.
Faith is not a checklist of beliefs to adhere, but a dynamic living participation with Jesus in his plans and purposes for the world. Leave the critical spirit, haughty attitude, and selfish expectations in the stands. Get on the playing field. To simply have our hands in our pockets is to actually work against Jesus. Are you willing to gather with Jesus? How does God want to you to serve? Are you only a fan of Jesus? Do you play armchair preacher on Monday morning? The kingdom of God has come upon us. Allow that reality to sink deep into our lives.
Mighty God, Jesus is the strong man who has bound Satan and is ushering in a new kingdom. Let me be a part of what you are doing in this world so that my faith is confirmed, strengthened, and used for your purposes. Amen.