Sunday, June 27, 2010

One thing we all have in common: we're different!

Yesterday afternoon, I put as my Facebook status: "Tell me something 'strange' or 'not normal' about yourself."  I thought it would be a fun thing to do, to get a few laughs with others as they shared about themselves.

I began the discussion by saying that I eat cottage cheese with crumbled potato chips and ketchup!  Soon other fun comments began rolling in from various people about strange food combinations that people like, as well as other interesting and 'strange' factoids from people about themselves, such as sleeping with both feet outside the covers, dipping French Fries in ice cream, loving liver and applesauce sandwiches, or pineapple and mayo sandwiches, being "slightly" OCD (yeah right, Jamie!), having double jointed knees, sleeping with one foot outside the covers, needing to sleep with a fan blowing on them, hating mustard on hamburgers and hating ketchup on hotdogs, but liking the vise versa, eating raw potatoes, reading magazines from back to front, having two nails on a pinky toe, not being fond of pickles but loving pickle juice, eating cold pizza smothered with honey, being able to hum and whistle at the same time... and quite a few other strange, interesting and unique things about the people who wrote about themselves!

 I did indeed get a good laugh out of all of this, and the interactions between various people who were part of the thread.  (BTW, the thread is here, although I'm not sure if you'll be able to view it unless you're a "friend" of mine on Facebook, or a friend of a friend).

But something deeper that I got out of it is how absolutely wonderful it is that God has made each of us so unique!  All of these "strange" and "not normal" things about us are really just evidence that God has a great big, huge, GINORMOUS paint palette, and He's not afraid to use new colors and new patterns and new techniques on His astoundingly BEAUTIFUL creations!

As one person put it:
"you have all delighted God in sharing your uniqueness..... i can just picture Him laughing with joy when he created each of us fashioning us after His own image! think of that!!! :-) how boring would life be if we were all the same?"
In scriptures such as Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talked about various ways in which God had gifted various people within the body of Christ, using words and phrases such as "differences of ministries" and "diversities of activities," and saying that we are "individually members of one another" and yet "all the members do not have the same function."  While Paul was talking in particular about "gifts of the Spirit" that are perhaps more likely used within the context of special gatherings of the church, the same really does apply to the ways in which God has uniquely and diversely wired each of us in everyday life - in the core of our individual personalities.

Our differences are to be celebrated.  As "members of one another," we have the special privilege of highlighting and encouraging these diverse traits in one another, and helping to bring them out in one another.  We're not meant to worry about whether or not we're the same as others, or put others down for not being the same as us.  God has skillfully, and I believe passionately, made each and every one of us into extraordinary people.  God Himself has done it!
Ps 139:14
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.


  1. May I say, may more of us embrace this fact, and not hide behind the perfection of Jesus, and claim that when God see us, He is seeing Jesus. In a sense, it is not wrong, as we are made in the image of God, but God sees you, the unique you when you approach Him, not Jesus. Yes, your righteousness is because of Jesus, but God see you, the one and only you, and deals with you accordingly, you who eat cottage cheese with crumbled potato chips and ketchup, you who are able to hum and whistle at the same time, etc, etc. God already has Jesus, why would He still need to have another Jesus. God wants you. Yes, approach Him in confidence as you, only that you just need to respect that He is holiness, draw on the cleansing work of the blood of Jesus.

    Lord, thank you for me!

  2. Hi Anthony,

    Overall I agree with what you're saying. We are indeed individuals. God has uniquely made each and every one of us, not as additional Jesus's walking around the earth, but as individual new creations. We are each unique in our own rights.

    However, I also believe in what some have called the "union life," and others have called other names. But the names aren't important anyway. The point is that the scriptures say things such as "he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him," and "we are members of Him and individually members of one another," and other such truths that show that yes indeed, we're 100% individuals, and at the same time our identity is 100% with God as well.

    I am righteous, not only 'because of' Jesus, but rather it's God's very righteousness that I walk in and that is my identity. Paul says, "I have died and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." He doesn't take away at all from the fact that we are individuals, but he also makes the point that our identity is both "in Christ" (we are individuals who are in Christ) and "Christ in us" (we are also identified by His very life that is in us).

    The way that I begun to word it in the past several years is to say that we are individuals who are in an "inseparable union" with God. (And we are also in an inseparable union with one another).

    My point being in all of this is that yes indeed, as you say, we are definitely unique individuals, and all of our individual uniqueness is a gift from God and is to be celebrated and explored and lived out. And at the same time, we are in an inseparable union with God. Not just with Jesus, but with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To put it in human terms, God doesn't just see "us" and He doesn't just see "Jesus" when He looks at us. Rather, the fullness of the Godhead exists in us and us with Him.