Greetings MOL Family!
God wanted you; else, He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem you! To Him, you are special, and there is only one you! Seek to experience a life with Him, and enjoy His beautiful way!
The Principle of Individuality
Do you know what a person is that talks like somebody else? He is a parrot. Now, a parrot is an interesting thing to listen to for a minute or two. But my, you wouldn’t want to listen to a parrot all day, would you? It would get very boring. God hasn’t called you to be a parrot and talk like somebody else. He has not given you the job of trying to mimic somebody.
In the world today, millions of people want to look like this celebrity, or that one. If they understood this principle, they would understand that God wants each one to look how? Like himself or like herself. God made you a beauty.
You say, “Well, I am not very beautiful.” Well, you certainly won’t improve by trying to look like someone else. No, no, not a bit of it. God wants you to be yourself. Here are a couple of nice statements on that:
“Stand in your God-given personality. Be no other person’s shadow.” – Ministry of Healing, pg. 499
Put away all pretense and affectation. Act your simple, natural self. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, pg. 522
Talk like yourself. Sing like yourself. Look like yourself. Someone says, “But I thought you said we needed to be changed.” Oh, yes. The reason we need to be changed is because we have lost our original image. He made us in the image of what? Of Himself. And we have lost that image, and we need to have it restored. But remember, when it is restored, it is an individual pattern for each individual. And I can never become like Jesus trying to imitate my Brother. Oh, no. I must imitate Jesus.
Someone says, “How does it come that I can imitate Jesus and I can’t imitate other people?” I will tell you the little secret, friends; it’s a great big secret. Jesus is so infinite that an infinite number of people can look at Him and copy Him and yet each one be different. He is infinite. That means there is no end to His beauty, no end to His wisdom, no limit to His character. And as I look at Him I see something, and to me He is altogether lovely, but you look at Him from a little different angle and you see something just a little different from the way I see it.
And that’s nothing for us to worry about. That is what makes us individuals. And if each one of us will look at Jesus that way, we’ll each one of us be transformed, and yet we won’t become regimented. Do you see the difference?
The Lord does not want any of His children to be shadows of others; but He would have each one be his own simple self, refined, sanctified, ennobled by imitating the life and character of the great Pattern. – Mind, Character, and Personality, Volume 2, pg. 428
There it is. God doesn’t want you to be a shadow or an echo. He wants you to be your own simple self. Oh, how important this is in our dealings with one another. God has warned leaders, administrators, whether in the church or institutions or wherever, He has warned them about the danger of invading the individuality of people. Take this statement:
God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. In all His dealings with human beings He recognizes the principle of personal responsibility. He seeks to encourage a sense of personal dependence and to impress the need of personal guidance. His gifts are committed to men as individuals…
In all this God is seeking to bring the human into association with the divine, that through this connection man may become transformed into the divine likeness. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, pg. 176
So, I am to encourage every man to look directly to God. Now, I may counsel; that’s part of my work. But, oh, I am not to get in between the soul and God. He is the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus is. And if I get in between the Sun and the soul that I am trying to help, what comes? Light? No. Darkness. There is a what? An eclipse. And the result is shadow.
Stand out of the way, every administrator, and let Jesus shine into the soul. There is a place for counsel. We have studied that in other lessons, and keep in mind this principle of balance. We are not able to study in any one lesson all that goes into a perfect life. But we are studying now the principle of what? Individuality.
satan seeks to thwart this purpose that God has. And so, he is constantly working to encourage dependence upon man to make men the slaves of men. God is not in the business of making slaves. He doesn’t want you to be a slave, and He doesn’t want you to make slaves. Don’t do it, friends. Don’t do it. Never take the responsibility of being the conscience for anybody else. Never encourage people to come to you and you decide what is right and wrong for them. Oh, no. The 14th of Romans is clear on that. Every one of us is to give account of himself to God.
But listen, if you are going to be an individual, you will have to let others be individuals. And if you are going to let others be individuals, you will have to be an individual. Oh, let us respect and love this great principle of individuality.
Now, let us take another example of it. This is just a simple, homely application of the things, but you will find it in Adventist Home, page 152.
Sister White was taking one of her many trips, back in the 1870s. She was commenting on some homes that she visited. One home that she visited she enjoyed so much. It was so restful because she said the chairs were not alike in the living room. She tells about the rocking chairs, some big ones and some little ones. And everything in the room wasn’t arranged with exact precision. She said some homes she went into the precision was so exact that it was almost painful. Read it over, pages 152-154. Very interesting.
In other words, friends, order does not mean to cancel out individuality, even in chairs. It doesn’t mean that you have to have all the drapes and the upholstery of the same color. Read about it there. There is harmony and order and taste without military precision.
These Have One Mind
I want you to go over to Revelation the 17th chapter. I want you to see where the devil’s efforts to destroy this principle of individuality are leading the world. He is going fast in this direction. Think of the mass methods that he has today. Think of the hypnotic power of the TV. Millions, millions of people are sitting with their eyes glued on that glittering, jumping image, and they are being hypnotized, friends. Their ideas and their ideals are undergoing a subtle change all the while, through radio, through newspapers, through the movies, and social media. The minds of people are being regimented. What for? Getting ready for the mark of the beast. And, oh, what a mark it is.
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. – Revelation 17:13
One mind, the hosts of satan as they march to Armageddon; one mind as they combine to try to blot out the remnant in one night; one mind with that mark of apostasy pressed deep into mind and conscience. And so fully will they have lost the individuality that God intended that they should have, that there will be nothing for God to do but blot them out, burn them up.
Oh, friends, I don’t want the end of that road, do you? Well, then, if I don’t want the end, what should I shun? The beginning, exactly. Shun the beginning. Shun every effort to destroy my individuality. Shun every effort to look like somebody else, sing like somebody else, dress like somebody else.
There Is Only One You
If we just learn this lesson of individuality we will understand that there is no one way to fix the hair that’s for everybody. You don’t all have the same color eyes. You don’t all have the same size feet. No. You don’t all have a dimple in your cheek or your chin. Some of you do. What are you going to do about it? Why, accept what God has provided (and we will see more next week about what to do with it).
But, oh, right now, individuality – find out God’s pattern for my life and fill it. I think one of the most wonderful points in this lesson is in Ministry of Healing. This is the application of this principle of individuality to our soul-winning work:
Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. Every individual has a life distinct from all others, and an experience differing essentially from theirs. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 100
What God has done for you, my brother, is something different from what He ever did for anybody else. And so, He says:
He desires that our praise shall ascend to Him, marked with our own individuality. – Ibid
Oh, listen! Your praise is to ascend to God marked with what? Your own individuality. Then when you sit in a meeting and the opportunity comes to testify, don’t be a monkey or a parrot. Oh, no. Don’t try to think, “Oh, if I could only talk like so and so, I’d say something.” God is listening for you. There was never another one like you. He is listening for that word of praise that is marked with your individuality.
If the thought of it makes you weep, weep. Weep tears of joy and gratitude. Don’t worry about being broken up. It was when Gideon’s pitchers were broken that the light shone out. Be your own simple self.
Next week, we will be looking at some balancing principles (as a follow up lesson), for dealing with self righteousness. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.