God’s intention is not only to have many individual sons, but to also have a Body for Christ. Individually, we may grow in life and express the Lord in our daily living, yet that is not the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “The church, which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.’’ Individual Christians are not the fullness of Christ, the church is the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “May be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,…that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.’’ Again, individually we cannot apprehend the dimensions of Christ nor are we able to be all the fullness of God, but corporately we can. On one hand the Lord died for us individually, on the other hand He died for the Body (Eph. 5:25b). Many Christians like to say that Jesus is our personal Savior. That is correct, but not complete, because He is called the Savior of the Body (Eph. 5:23b). He did not just save us as individuals, but as members of the Body for the Body.
When Adam took in the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil he became independent of God. The Bible also tells us that men became independent of one another. This nature of independence is ingrained in us, causing us to be individualistic. When we read the Bible, we want to read it our way. If others would not take our way, we would go and read it by ourselves or not read it at all. In serving the Lord it is the same. Today, many Christians are serving the Lord, yet they serve the Lord independently. Why? It is due to our individualism. Because of individualism, the Body of Christ cannot be built. We need to be saved from individualism for the Body of Christ. Only life can save us from our individualism.
B. Dealing with Individualism
Since individualism is a result of the fall and is part of the old man, the way to deal with it is the same as mentioned in the previous few points. The reason most Christians do not deal with it is because they do not see the Body of Christ and do not see the evil of individualism. We need to pray that the Lord will reveal to us the Body and expose our individualistic thoughts, speech, and actions. As soon as we become aware of any trait of individualism, we must pray, “O Lord Jesus, forgive my independent ways. I am too individualistic. Lord, I repent. Cleanse me and fill me with Your Spirit. I want to be built up with others to be Your Body to express Your fullness.’’ As you are praying this way, you are dealing with your individualism. You are being cleansed, being filled with the Spirit, and growing in life. Whenever His light shines on you, do not argue, but repent, confess, and pray. The Spirit will operate to work on your individualism.
[When we are exposed, the Lord has the opportunity to live in us. Therefore, do not blame the church. Furthermore, do not blame the Lord. Instead, you should say, “Lord, how I thank You for this situation. I love the church, not because it is perfect, but because it exposes me. Lord, lay me on the altar and deal with my mind, emotion, and will so that You can live in me.’’ As the Lord lives in us, He saves us. His saving life works only as He has the opportunity to live in us. Then the divine life will save us from being individualistic. As we are saved in His life, we become the Body and members one of another. May the Lord have mercy upon us that we may see our need to be saved in His life from individualism for the building up of the Body.]
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)