Friday, September 21, 2012

A Thought about Individualism from Romans

For those that don't know, I grew up in Alaska. It's a great place, and one of my favorite things about it is how free the people are to be themselves. I think individualism became a kind of ideal for me, and perhaps it's a state of being that is easy for me to idolize. I can tell because whenever people try to lump me in some generic group, my entire being screams out to correct them in some way. I want to be in a category by myself--I don't mind being associated with people as long as it's clear that I'm different in obvious and important ways. (This is how I feel when I'm idolizing my individualism.) 

I started thinking about this again this week because Paul and I started doing a Biblical Counseling (as in, learning how to do it...) small group at our church, and this last week's lesson stepped on my individual toes a little bit. Or at least I thought so at first. 

Within the lesson was an exercise thinking about our relationship with Christ, the assets he brings to the relationship, and the "assets" that we ourselves bring -- and how they are really not assets but liabilities. I understand this. I don't have a problem believing that everything good about me that I bring into a relationship can also be a bad thing. 

But if all Christians bring nothing positive into the relationship and if Christ fills all, then do we all have the same identity in Christ? (Here my individuality gasps for air.) After meditating on Christ's work in us, I am satisfied that we do in fact, still all have an individual nature. 

In Romans 8 (which I have recently finished memorizing) it talks about how our bodies are sold under sin--it is our physical nature, which is still in bondage to sin, that makes our assets into liabilities. But when we put our faith in Christ, he gives us his Spirit (a sort of down payment on the full redemption to come)--so that although our body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness--his righteousness. This is the same righteousness he gives all his children. And we aren't perfect right now, but we await (with eager longing) our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. This will be the completion of our salvation. 

So that means that our physical bodies, which includes all our quirks of personality, talents, and preferences will be redeemed in the end. They will be made perfect as our Lord Jesus is perfect. And because of that, we will not all be the same! Because of the perfection we will receive when we are reunited with Christ, we will never use our "assets" as "liabilities". And it is this hope that I can long for! (The hope of one day being more completely myself than I've ever been--with all my personality, but being perfect. Never doing the evil that I hate, and only doing and loving good.)

Of course we do not have this now ( one's perfect.) But we can hope for it. If we had it now, we wouldn't be hoping for it. But since we don't have it...but we have the promise of it, we can hope for that day to come, believe in it, and wait for it with patience. 


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  2. interesting! and helpful to read. Marissa and I are currently halfway through memorizing chapter 8 as well.

    Neat to hear you two are learning about Biblical Counseling together!