America has long heralded the praises of individualism and autonomy.
It may seem like the days of honor and familial living are firmly behind us.
Upon first hearing this critic, you may find my accusations thin and brash. Of course I am not referring to every Westerner or every American, but to the social norms.
The current climate wreaks of self-love and self-discovery. This is meant to be done with no aid of outside influences or religious candor.
This impotent gospel is preached to us at a very young age, and without much opposition.
After all, if this is something that will bring our culture enlightenment and peace, why would anyone oppose this?
The fruit of this gospel can be found in educational tools, like the Myers-Briggs personality test. This test boasts in its ability to narrow down your personality into one of sixteen types.
Revealing to you, why it is that you function as you do and how you process information.
(I am an INTJ, which should explain my certainty in this article)
There are many books written on self-esteem and being true to one’s self, whomever that “self” may be.
Many T.V shows and movie plots have included this very premise: The actor goes through some form of struggle or confusion, forcing them to forsake a value they once held in order to blossom into what they were meant to become all along.
To be sure, there are some benefits to individualism. Not every expression is negative.
However, when it sinks its manicured claws into us, we begin to notice that this amiable, fluffy bear is not as charming as we first believed.
Danger befalls us when we fail to see the Holy scripture as our source and guide.
The depths of this false gospel begin to seep further into our hearts and the light of God’s word isn’t there to expose them.
What was promised to us has left us punctured and frail.
The truth is, we were all born with our name tags absent.
Naturally, our parents assign to us an identity and do their best to guide us on our way. That veneer satisfies us temporarily, but unless the God of creation sets His seal upon us, we are destined to be perpetual gypsies. This identity crisis is as old as sin itself.
Throughout the Bible we can observe God renaming His people and bestowing upon them a new identity.
For instance, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, Jacob to Israel and Paul to Saul.
In the creation story, we see that God allows for Adam to name the animals which preceded him in their creation. This signifies the dominion that God gave Adam over all the rest of His creation.
Likewise, when God gives us a name, He is signifying His dominion over us.
For many people, that terminology is grievously offensive. God dominates us? That seems so unloving.
Could it be that we have had so many claws in our hearts, we don’t understand that God’s dominion seal must be placed upon us? Miraculously, God’s seal doesn’t simply patch the claw marks that the bear left behind. It regenerates our dead heart and seals it, so that the vermin can’t come back again.
When God regenerates us by the Holy Spirit’s power and the finished work of Jesus, He makes us a new creation, found in Christ. We are not autonomous and separate from the world. Instead, we are brought into a family, into a body of believers. This body is made up of many members. Many different Myers-Briggs personality types are represented in Christ’s Body, but be assured, Christ is the head.
Every personality type must undergo a sanctification process, there is not one that perfectly represents Christ, our head, properly. God is gracious to give us the Holy Spirit, who day by day conforms us into the image of the Son.
The false gospel of individualism and autonomy can never deliver what we can have in Jesus.
We were created to be a part of something.
More still, we were created to enjoy someone, to behold something.
It is not until we find our self, grafted into Christ’s body, beholding Him in all His glory, that we will ever find peace and identity.