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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Individuality


          We each strive to be our own person, to be an individual. No one wants anyone telling us how to live or what decisions to make. We shout for our rights and sometimes demand our privileges are our rights. You notice this when children demand things at home when they are growing up and stretching their wings to be independent.   


This gift of individuality is not a right, but a gift. So, how is this gift? Well, first, go back to the first assumption, God created you; He created each of us. If we stop with only that statement and pursue it no further, we say, “Yes, He made me.” God’s great knowledge and understanding in creating my body is amazing, for without the heart, I would be dead or without the brain, I would be dead. Consider though, your spirit and individuality. If we were involved in a Christian religion as a child or as an adult, we will grant the fact God made our spirit; He gave us a spiritual essence. You say, however, individuality is what I made of myself since my birth. It is the choices I chose to make; the road I chose to travel. God has nothing to do with my individuality, we may say. Maybe this is so, considering we made choices that were not always the best choices but good choices. Is that not the common thought expressed in the poem, “The Road Less Traveled,” by Robert Frost? Yet, is there not more to individuality than this? Consider then, we human beings have been in existence since day six of creation; hence, we are “old enough” to choose our own way, to become who we want to be. “No one is in charge of me but me,” we might have said or heard. Now, consider, since our creation, which we admitted, God was before we began, since before time began. With this reasoning in place, that He made us, we must realize individuality does not come from ourselves, but is a gift from God.   

Now, since we conceded individuality is a gift from God, we should consider then, how is that to play out in our realm of life of four score and ten years with the spirit God put in us? How do we reconcile our spiritual side to our individuality? Many of us consider our spiritual side and our own individuality separate from each other. We consider it our way to live, living our own lives. Consider though, since individuality is a gift from God, individuality is the gift God gave us to express in our own way how God is working in our lives and how He wants us to work in His world for His purpose. “What?” you say. Yes, if you agree individuality is a gift from God, as spirituality is a gift given to us at our own creation, then you must acknowledge each of these is to be used somehow in His purpose for our lives on this earth at this time. Wow, what a consideration!    

When we give our lives to Christ, not only are we accepting His free gift of salvation from our sinful life and accepting eternal life with God, but we are giving all of ourselves, which includes every aspect of our personality/individuality, to Him to use for His purposes. Jesus said this in Matthew 16:24-25 when he tried to explain to the disciples about following Him,
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone desires to be my disciple,  let him deny himself, forget his own interests, and take up his cross and follow me [Conform wholly to my example in living] . For whoever is bent on saving his temporal life will lose eternal life, but whoever loses his life, his comfort and security here, for my sake will find life everlasting.”
Individuality is the shell outside our spiritual life; our individuality is what we must give to God if we are to be followers of Jesus. To say no to this is either to be a child and means we have not grown into a deeper relationship with God or we actually have not given ourselves to Jesus. Which have you done?
Individuality is the shell or covering of our whole person. Inside resides the part of us God made for Himself and most like Himself, the spirit. Our individuality/personality must be given to God for us to give ourselves to Him to be in fellowship with Him. Individuality can corrupt human nature for its own gain and purposes, so, if we are going to follow Jesus and become more Christ-like, we must yield our individual nature, a gift from God, back to Him. We can stay as little children who are self-centered and interested in their own gain or we can allow God to break the outer shell of individuality, which allows our spiritual life to emerge. 
If we are going to grow more Christ-like, we must continue to yield ourselves to Him so we can grow. In doing so, He will break through the individual of self, which desires its own way and its own wants, to get to the essence God has put into each of us at our creation, our spirit. Each of our individual spirits is the part of us that hears and understands God. Through this hearing and understanding, He leads us to obedience and we become more and more as He is. God wants to bring you into complete union with Him just as He is with Christ, but until we give up the right to ourselves, He will not. We must “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him” (Matthew 16:24 New American Standard Bible). From this point, our spiritual life will grow. Individuality is the part of our selves which expresses our spirituality; yielded to Him, we will not only grow but also show the world the way to true Life.