The Quest for Individuality
By David Brandt Berg
Lots of people have fallen for the Devil’s lie that if they read, follow, and obey the Word of God, they’ll “lose their individuality.” In other words, they believe that if they simply accept the truths of God’s Word by faith, they will become just like everyone else and will cease to be a unique, thinking person—that they will lose their “edge,” their intellect, and their ability to carry on thoughtful discussions.
If you stop to look around you, though, you’ll see that there is plenty of variety, intelligence, and individuality among those who don’t adopt this mindset. Within the body of believers who are all trying their best to follow Jesus’ teachings, there are all kinds of real characters! No two people are alike, and there are many big differences that set people apart.
Even if everyone were to believe and apply the Word of God, the Word is living, so its results are different in each person’s life. For example, if ten people were to read the Bible’s famous “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13, each might get something different from it. One may feel the Lord is telling him to have more outgoing love, another to be less pushy, another to be less proud, another to be less self-centered, and on and on. There is simply no way for people to become “mindless robots” or to lose their intellect or individuality as a result of living the Word!
I understand that if that were possible, no one would like that. It would make life boring and unchallenging. But that’s not possible. In fact, the opposite is likely to happen—the closer you draw to Jesus and the more you absorb His Word, the more your own personal gifts and strengths come to the fore. The Lord amplifies and enhances your natural talents and abilities, including your brainpower (all of which came from Him in the first place, by the way), and He makes you an even better person—a better you. And I’m not just talking about your spiritual life, but your imagination and creativity, your reasoning processes, your decision-making ability, your people-handling skills, and all the rest. The closer you get to the Lord and the more attuned you are to Him, the more of an individual you will become, because He will make you into what He wants you to be, which is different from what He wants anyone else to be.
Even if you were to read all the same Bible passages and memorize all the same Scriptures as a million other people, that wouldn’t take away your uniqueness. How you apply God’s Word in your life and how that Word is manifested in your decisions, your personality, your likes and dislikes, your faith, your reactions, and so on is what makes you an individual. The commitments you make to the Lord, the experiences you go through with Him, the love you give, the ideas you get from Him, the people you influence—all of that is what makes you who you are and defines who you are, and no one could ever be the same as you. It’s impossible!
You don’t have to reach out to the things of the world to try to establish your individuality. That’s a real trick of the Devil, because you think you’re becoming a different, unique person, but all the while his desire is to make you just like all the others who blindly go after the things of the world.
The Bible instructs us: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16), and “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
Those who buy into the Devil’s lies end up conforming to the world. Gradually, as they yield their mind and thoughts and choices to the indoctrination of the world, they lose their uniqueness and become just like billions of other people who are in bondage to the darkness. That’s hardly being an individual!
The more of the world you take in, the more you are in danger of becoming not who the Lord created you to be, but a model of someone else’s thinking. Instead of a solid, loving Christian who knows where he’s going and is secure in God’s love, you’ll end up a poor lost wanderer spiritually.
What makes you an individual is not having beliefs that no one else has, but letting your belief in truths held in common with millions of other believers educate, inspire, motivate, and cause you to do things that are unique. The individuality is in what you do with your life.
So you have a choice: You can take God’s Word and all that the Lord shows you through your personal connection with Him and become the beautiful individual and unique expression of God’s love that He wants you to be, or you can go the other route and resist the Lord’s instruction, refuse His help, and miss becoming what you could have been. It’s up to you. That’s your freedom of choice, your freedom of thought.
“The more of the world you take in, the more you are in danger of becoming a model of someone else’s thinking.”
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