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I’ve written here before about nonsensical phrases like “for the greater good” that hide a diabolical agenda under their sickly sweet surface. I am unabashedly a supporter and champion of the individual rather than the collective. Jesus also championed the individual, which for me is one of his most endearing qualities.
You don’t have to give up who you are or what makes you you to become a Christian. In fact, when you’re born again, you become more you than you ever were living in the world under the world’s authority and expectations.
God made you to be you. He made you one-of-a-kind and thoroughly unique. He doesn’t want you looking in the mirror and not liking what you see or wanting to be someone or something else. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, it’s because you’re trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. That someone else isn’t God.
The devil is notorious for making people feel bad about themselves, for luring them into wanting to be more or to have more (prosperity preachers, I’m talking to you!). God doesn’t do that. He never lures us into wanting to be more or to have more, unless it’s to be more like Jesus and to have more treasures stored up in Heaven. But worldly desires based on worldly expectations don’t come from God.
Another thing God never does is to try to beguile us into wanting ‘”to be part of something bigger” than ourselves, as if just being ourselves on our own is somehow insignificant and unfulfilling. To be honest, I’ve never wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, and frankly I’m not even sure what it means. But I have a sneaking suspicion it’s probably as nonsensical as “for the greater good” and has at its core the same diabolically-inspired agenda, which is to get you to trade your individuality and everything that makes you you for something that represses your uniqueness. At the same time, phrases like “for the greater good” and “be part of something bigger” let you know that you as an individual are of such little consequence in the grand scheme of things, that your being subsumed into a large faceless crowd is likewise of no consequence, because you have no or negligible value.
That is the devil speaking. God values you for you, because he made you to be valued for who and what you are. He did not make you to be part of a faceless crowd and thinking that you only have value when you’re part of one. He didn’t make you to reject who and what you are. Again, the devil is behind that.
The Bible is full of gloriously individual individuals just being who they are. The closer they grow to God, the more they become themselves. It’s like God’s Spirit in and around them unleashes their true being. You never hear Jesus wishing he were someone else, or Paul wishing he were someone else, or Moses wishing he were someone else, or David wishing he were someone else. No, these people who were (and are!) so close to God were at the same time fully and authentically themselves during their time in a human body, which is what makes their individual characters so compelling and real to us, even though we only know most of them through the written word.
When you become born-again, you automatically become part of something bigger without consciously having to join it or giving up anything of yourself. That “something bigger” is the cloud of witnesses Paul talked about. You don’t have to sign up to be part of that cloud; you’re automatically enrolled at your rebirth. And lucky for you, you don’t have to change anything about yourself to be in it: You don’t have to wear anything in particular; you don’t have to make secret hand signs or slip secret words into your conversation; you don’t have to attend meetings and put yourself under the watchful eyes of mentors. No, you don’t have to do any of those things. You just have to be you, the reborn you – the real you – the one that God made and the one that the devil and the world are constantly trying to steal from you.
There’s true freedom in being who you are, not in giving yourself up to become part of something you’re not. By all means, join large organizations or movements, if that’s what you want to do, but if they require you to change who you are to “fit in”, they’re not from God. If you choose to be part of something bigger than you that makes you change who you are, you’re saying that God made you somehow deficient or inadequate, that for some reason you can’t stand on your own and need other people or things to prop you up and give your life meaning. But that’s not how God made us. He made each of us to stand as an individual among individuals, helping and supporting each other as individuals, not as interchangeable beings melting into a faceless crowd.
Every society that devolves into collectivism soon self-destructs. So it’s not surprising that the devil is pushing the notions of “for the greater good” and “be part of something bigger than yourself” at this particular point in time, when Christendom is imploding and evil is growing day by day. As more and more people turn from God, we see more and more evidence that people hate who they are and wish they were someone or something else, including the opposite sex. Self-loathing is a clear sign of profound spiritual crisis.
I love me. The world looks at me and sees multiple flaws (hoo, boy – you should see the ads that pop up when I go on certain websites! lol), but I love me just the way I am. I would not change one thing about me, other than to follow ever closer behind Jesus and to grow ever closer to God. Those are the only changes I would make, and they’re not so much changes as natural spiritual growth that unfolds over time. God gives us the capacity to grow; we aren’t made to remain spiritually stationary. Wanting to follow ever closer behind Jesus and to grow ever closer to God are built-in characteristics that are part and parcel of who I am. They were there even when I was a suicidal atheist and loathed myself. They’re not imposed on me; they’re an opening up within me, like a flower opening its petals to the sun.
God made us to want the good and to love him. He made us to be individuals among individuals and to love who we are. Jesus exemplified this par excellence. God did not put within us the desire to do something “for the greater good” or to be “part of something bigger” or to want to change ourselves into something we’re not and were never meant to be. The devil does that. The devil wants us to trade our God-given uniqueness, as expressed in our individuality, for a cheap knock-off that will never quite fit because it can’t fit. The devil, as scripture tells us, comes only to lie, cheat, steal, kill and destroy. His success rate, sadly, is increasing day by day. Don’t let him get you, too. The only change you should want to make is to be more and more like Jesus, which ironically will make you more and more yourself.