Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. I had started my journal at 8:40 am and could not finish until 12:10 pm. It was meeting after meeting in the entire morning, but they are all fruitful and meaningful for the Kingdom of God. Praise the Lord! I hope this devotional will reach you before your lunch break, so that you will have more time to meditate on it and over the weekend.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). Individuality is the shell of the personal life. Individuality is all elbows, it separates and isolates. It is the characteristic of the child and rightly so; but if we mistake individuality for the personal life, we will remain isolated. The shell of individuality is God's created natural covering for the protection of the personal life; but individuality must go in order that the personal life may come out and be brought into fellowship with God. Individuality counterfeits personality as lust counterfeits love. God designed human nature for Himself; individuality humiliates human nature for itself.
The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-assertiveness. It is the continual assertion of individuality that hinders our spiritual life more than anything else. If you say - "I cannot believe," it is because individuality is in the road; individuality never can believe. Personality cannot help believing. Watch yourself when the Spirit of God is at work. He pushes you to the margins of your individuality, and you have either to say - "I shan't," or to surrender, to break the shell of individuality and let the personal life emerge. The Holy Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing. The thing in you that will not be reconciled to your brother is your individuality. God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself He cannot. "Let him deny himself" - deny his independent right to himself, then the real life has a chance to grow.
We are living in a culture that uplifts independence and self-assertiveness. As a result, we harvest arrogance, indulgence and complacence. When we focus so much on our individuality and self actualization, we will not consider self sacrifice and self-denial; they are something essential as we want to follow Christ or grow in Christ. Have mercy on us O Lord. We are living in such a culture and being corrupted or swallowed up by such trend. Many of us will not be able to tell how our lifestyle has been corrupted within the sphere of this mega-trend of self-assertiveness. Only when we humble ourselves before God, and allow His enlightenment come upon us, we will not be able to see our corrupted nature or our complacence.
Again and again, the Bible calls us to seek the enlightenment from above so that we can really see who we are and where we are in terms of our relationship with God. Paul said, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:17-18)…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (3:16-17). Apostle John inspired by the Holy Spirit warned the church of Laodicea, “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Rev. 3:18). Ask the Lord to open our eyes, so that we can really see our problem and accept His work of reformation.
Love you in Christ,