Are you satisfied to look the same, act the same, or think the same as everyone else at Church? Of course not! Are you just being selfish, then, unwilling to join your brothers and sisters in unity? Of course not! But don’t you also want to belong to your family at church and share in enough of the same things that you could be identified as a member of this body? Of course you do! What’s going on?
Because we are made in God’s image, and God is a Trinity – one God, three persons – we also feel two compelling desires within us. We desire to be a part of a community where we are loved and cared for, where we feel that we have much in common, where we are willing to set aside personal interests in order to accomplish the purpose of the community. But we also desire to be seen as individuals who are special and unique, not just a number on the roll.
As sinners who no longer can keep life between the rails, we are often jumping the track in this area of our lives. The tension between community and individuality often becomes the tension between conformity and rebellion. But the model of the Trinity teaches us to value both our individual self-expression (You like cowboy boots, I like sandals) and our joy in community (We both follow the leadership of our elders, or sit in the same Sunday school class, or join the same small group).
It is our allegiance to the Triune God that enables us to celebrate both the individual and the community. Are you making the individuals in your group feel special? Are you sacrificing for the sake of the group when necessary? We need individual differences (spiritual gifts, temperaments) and we need togetherness. Ephesians 4:3-16.
Perhaps this is nowhere more needed than in a family. Do you celebrate your spouse’s and children’s unique differences? Do you allow each other to be unique and yet one family? Does each member to some extent put aside their individuality for the sake of being a family? Is your family modeling the Trinity?