One of the most difficult things I believe for humanity to achieve is balance.
Paul said for us to let all things be done in moderation, but this is no easy task. We all walk in a dichotomy, between the seen and unseen world, where the walk of faith and the walk of sight are very prone to imbalance, to the point of emphasizing particular aspects of our journey to the neglect of others.
For example, we can overly stress the love of God and neglect the holiness and justice of God. We can so focus on His holiness, that we miss the glory of His love. Complete theological systems have been built by men around pursuing such extremes. The result of these extremes is that all too often we see major pendulum swings in the faith community as we seek to achieve that experience of balance in our lives.
I believe we are seeing one such pendulum swing in recent days. I believe the scales are tipping for a dangerous emphasis on individuality within the body of Christ. Understanding our individuality is so important. In fact, the only way to true spiritual health is to know that God not only loves the world, and also loves me. We dare not allow our significance to be shaped by - and perhaps lost in - the crowd.
It's not surprising that many people, after experiencing the harshness of this world, doubt that God loves them. "I know God loves the world, but I really question how God could love someone like me", is a question that is asked all too often by far too many people. We must embrace that God loves me, because He wanted one of me, and I am the only one on the face of this big wide world who can express God the way I do. So, I say yes to individuality, but not to the expense of the corporate whole.
Paul went to great pains in the New Testament to herald that we are a part of something greater than ourselves. We are individual members that make up a body!
There is none within this body that does not need the rest of the body.
Paul taught that each individual member has different giftedness with which to serve the others in the body, and no individual member has all the gifts. This forces us to experience a very healthy interdependence of the Life of the Holy Spirit being subsequently expressed and received by each of us in a unique way through each individual member of the glorious body of Christ. Amazing!
Recently though, I am hearing an overemphasis on our individuality with God that I fear might prove to be ultimately unhealthy to both individuals and to the corporate body. I have heard people affirm that through God Who lives in them, they have no need of anyone or anything. They stress “my identity” and “my righteousness” and “my sainthood.” God never intended that His glorious indwelling would lead us to isolation. Rather, he intended for us to live in relation with others who likewise experience and express His life.
As a small way of affirming this reality... did you know that the word “saint” NEVER appears in the singular in the Bible? It is always found in the plural. Did you know that likewise in Colossians 1, when Paul shares the glory that is Christ in you, that the word “you” is NOT in the singular, but in the plural. Christ in us “all” is our corporate hope of glory.
The truth is the Body of Christ needs you, and you need the Body of Christ! This is the true glory of the New Testament!