The following may be “duhhh, of course” obvious or hotly contested by some, but:
Though this has been true throughout human history, I am beginning to be convinced we live in an age of particularly massive individualism where professed Christians are largely drawn together by personal cultural choices more than, even -rather- than a shared, intentional focus on Jesus Christ and application of His words.
Over many years I’ve emphasized culture, ANY culture never equals Christ.
Personal comfort and dreams for one’s life can begin to take His place if one is not prayerful, careful and honest.
This is where a gathering of friends might be seen as more essential than loving obedience to God as best as we can understand and apply His word.
Over the centuries many have either run to the extreme of shallow relationships based on personal preferences not directly related to Christ and His call or conversely, the other extreme perhaps due to a perceived purity of shared vision that one can “never find in others” to the extent individuals cut themselves off from Christians who gather, thus the “lone ranger” syndrome.
So, a severe “group individualism” on one extreme, “individual individualism” on the other?
I suppose group sin seems affirming but let not that be confused with biblical, gathered discipleship. Individuals bunkering themselves inside a sort of hermit existence is nothing new either.
Chapter 15 of John’s gospel has been a core text for me for most of my life, and the issue of bearing fruit as a natural result of being one of many branches on the vine is a key point. Each branch has a healthy uniqueness but all are deeply rooted in the vine, that vine being Jesus Himself.
Authentic spiritual growth and life can only happen when a branch is fully connected to Jesus alongside the rest of the branches.
Meanwhile, a false Christ equals a false salvation. Take care He and His word direct your decisions. Culture is essentially a matter of human customs. Scripture is the very Word of God, His thoughts, promises and yes, commands.
The true God who IS love has both the purest motives as well as sovereign right to rule, not merely influence our choice. The same is true regarding our cultural tastes.
Jesus as Lord is the one and same Jesus as Savior!
Things to consider…
Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn