Do you know what individualism is? Have you heard that word before?
Proverbs 9:12. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
You are growing up in a world that tells you to be true to yourself, listen to your heart, follow your dreams, live your truth, and do what is right for you. This is called individualism. That’s a big word that means that you should make yourself the most important person. That you should listen to your own individual wisdom. Individualism puts the self in front of others.
Proverbs 9:12 can sound like individualism – If you are wise, you are wise for yourself. Solomon is saying that the best way to be your true self is to be wise. But we must remember how Solomon defined wisdom just two verses earlier:
Proverbs 9:10. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
It’s never our own wisdom that makes us our true self, it is God’s. Fearing God, loving him and loving what he loves, trusting him, obeying him, this is how a person become their true self. You are a person, and people are made in the image of God. So for any person to be their true self, they must image or reflect God and his love to others. That means putting others first, not your own heart and dreams.
How does a person really find wisdom and become their true self? By finding Jesus and trusting him to save us. Now we will be made like him, the one who feared God, loved God, and trusted God, even all the way to the cross. Jesus became his true self by giving up himself for God and others. And now so can we.
Because of Jesus we can be our true selves.
With Jesus we can know ourselves by knowing and trusting God.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Ask your kids where they are hearing individualism: follow your heart, be true to yourself, look within, love yourself. Talk about how trusting God is different from this, and how following Jesus is the only way to really know yourself (your sin and your new heart).
Jesus, I want to live for you and not just for myself. That’s wisdom. Amen.
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