We live in America. We have grown accustomed to a certain type of living. It isn't a bad thing, it is just different; counter-cultural to the way the Bible and Christianity is presented in Scripture.
I am struggling through how to relate Christianity and Scripture which is so focused on community and the body of believers working as one to a society in which people strive to earn their own way of life.
I know for a fact that God's Word speaks to all people no matter who you are or what you do so it isn't a matter of God being selective in who He's writing to. I also know for a fact that God loves the entire world and sent His Son for the entire world.
The thing that I think is causing me to stumble is individual spirituality. You have your Jesus and I have mine. My Jesus provides water for the crops that I'm planting, and your Jesus gives you opportunity to earn money to buy the things you need. Are they not the same Jesus?
The God of the Universe knows each individual person's needs and cares for them in that way. This is whether you are a believer or not a believer. For in Matthew chapter 5:45, "[God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." That passage is within the context of loving your enemies and praying for them. God loves and provides for all people. Where does individualism come in?
Picture a garden. What do we do with a garden? We plant the seed, till the soil, pick weeds, maybe prune bushes. Do we make the plants grow? Our Heavenly Father is the one who grows the plant, we take care of the soil. Now if the world is the soil, and faith is the plant, do you see the picture? God grows faith through the work of the Holy Spirit, but we as humans need to nurture the soil. Plant the seed. Can we do this alone?
In our individualistic society how does the soil get nurtured? Maybe you can take care of your own garden soil, but what good is a huge garden full of soil for one plant to grow in? God wants us to share our gardens! Don't get me wrong, God works miracles in those who have individual spirituality, but let's share these miracles with the greater community of believers!
This is not meant to be a legalistic thing, it brings me such great joy to be a part of a community who supports each other and builds each others gardens up and helps to nurture soil that God uses to produce bountiful fruit. Fruit that can be shared throughout the community: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If God had meant for us to be alone in our faith, the Bible wouldn't have so much language about working together as believers and a community of faith. The Body of Christ is full of great news of working together to bring glory and honor to God above all else. God knows exactly what we as humans need, and that is a support network, people to trust, to share joys and sorrows with. That is how the Church today can bring the Good News to an individualistic society.
So to wrap it all up, is individual spirituality an oxymoron? I'll let you answer that one.