Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

“Individual, Not Individualistic”

Categories: Christian character, discipleship, Sunday Family Report articles, theology

It’s been noted by psychologists at both the intellectuals’ level and the layman’s level that the modern West is defined by an extremely high level of individualism. Each person is considered sovereign over himself. “Personal rights” are considered inviolable whether they are legally protected or not. And disagreement with a principle has become synonymous with attack on a person. Some writers have cleverly defined our cultural moment as “the iWorld” in tribute to Steve Jobs’ branding of a whole line of devices like iPhone, iPad, etc.

While the manifestations of the issues are new, the problem is not. Humans’ self-centered way of thinking always presents a strong challenge to The Gospel, in which Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt. 16:24-25) It’s understandable why some struggle with these words from the Lord. It sounds like the Gospel would take away all individual expression from those who follow it. Is that right?

No, the Gospel does not take away all individuality. It does not make us into robotic, mindless drones all cut to the exact same pattern. Rather, it is in Christ that we find real individual freedom. And the promise of this is found even in his words quoted above: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” The Gospel doesn’t take away who we are; it asks us to forfeit ourselves and to receive the gift of a whole new and better personhood—one that is made holy and right-eous by faith in Jesus Christ. We will not be individualistic any more, but we will be transformed into the individual and free and holy image of God that we were created for in the first place!

- Dan Lankford, minister