Differentness: Being one though diverse.
“To become new men means losing what we now call ‘ourselves’. Out of our selves, into Christ, we must go. His will is to become ours and we are to think His thoughts, to ‘have the mind of Christ’ as the Bible says. And if Christ is one, and if He is thus to be ‘in’ us all, shall we not be exactly the same? It certainly sounds like it; but in fact it is not so…
“It is difficult here to get a good illustration; because, of course, no other two things are related to each other just as the Creator is related to one of His creatures. But I will try two very imperfect illustrations which may give a hint of the truth. Imagine a lot of people who have always lived in the dark. You come and try to describe to them what light is like. You might tell them that if they come into the light that same light would fall on them all and they would all reflect it and thus become what we call visible. Is it not quite possible that they would imagine that, since they were all receiving the same light, and all reacting to it in the same way (i.e. all reflecting it), they would all look alike? Whereas you and I know that the light will in fact bring out, or show up, how different they are.
“Or again, suppose a person who knew nothing about salt. You give him a pinch to taste and he experiences a particular strong, sharp taste. You then tell him that in your country people use salt in all their cookery. Might he not reply ‘In that case I suppose all your dishes taste exactly the same: because the taste of that stuff you have just given me is so strong that it will kill the taste of everything else.’ But you and I know that the real effect of salt is exactly the opposite. So far from killing the taste of the egg and the tripe and the cabbage, it actually brings it out. They do not show their real taste till you have added the salt.”
From Mere Christianity –C.S Lewis
Light shining on different objects enhances the uniqueness of those objects. Salt added to food brings out the uniqueness of different foods.
None of us who are in Christ are exactly the same. His light shining on each of us brings out and enhances our own personality. Is it any wonder then that we have our own unique thinking and perspectives and experiences of being in Christ?
But, you may ask, won’t that cause quibblings, frictions, dissentions, arguments, and the like when we congregate together? Assuredly it will happen. That’s why on many occasions He has instructed us to refrain from such things as behaving in ways we always have to prove ourselves right.
The debate over different Christian theologies and doctrines, for example. Different perspectives, differing opinions often resulting in arguments.
Could it be possible to abate pride and allow others their perspectives, experiences and opinions? Who’s to say but that in the end it will all pan out before Christ? I enjoy discussing theology as long as it points to and makes the Savior central, with all things pointing to Him as the Object of all Affection and Desire.
Hermeneutics and exegesis of the Bible? I love hearing other’s perspectives, insights, experiences, and opinions. But please – if I discern it becomes an argument about who is “right” I’ll dummy-up and walk away. In discussing these things Christ is at the center of it in the person of the Holy Spirit, guiding and teaching all who are gathered. But if it becomes prideful argument Christ departs, and the Devil stands on the side-lines dancing a jig and shooting fiery darts into the thoughts of the combatants.
Many such things I have learned from experience and by being involved – pridefully – and shamed myself before the Savior. Satan won’t use a club to beat us if he can manipulate our own self-centered pride against us more effectively.
Being one in Christ we don’t lose our individual, God-given personality. But hopefully that personality becomes more polished and refined as the Lord continuously guides us through cycles of abrasive circumstances.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ…” (Philippians 3:7-11)