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Personal Preferences

5/1/19 | Encouragement | by Howie Klein

Personal Preferences

    "Personal preferences are specific likes and dislikes of an individual human. Special attention should be paid to each individual's preferences, as they can have a large influence on the decisions that person makes and how they behave. Over the course of time, seemingly minor personal preferences can have a great impact on the character of your expedition. "

    – Overview of a 1987 board game called Personal Preferences

    Personal preferences creep into every part of our day quite naturally. Most people prefer a hot shower instead of cold one. Do you like to eat all of one thing on your plate before moving on to the next? Do you sleep on your right side, left side, stomach, or back? Ours is a society which focuses on personal preference and how it is not just a priority but even a right!

    During Week 1 of the Community Group study the Five Indicators of Individualism really struck close to home. As a quick reminder from Chapter 1:

    Self-Reliance – you are proud of your ability to deal with your own problems and challenges without help from others.

    Self-Sufficiency – very few people have full access to your life, you disclose only what you want them to know.

    Self-Protection – you might be addicted to approval. Your sense of value rises and falls on what people say (or do not say) about you. You avoid conflict.

    Self-Importance – you tend to be addicted to busyness, it fills the void of deep relationships.

    Self-Will – you regularly choose work and hobbies over people

    Admittedly, these are not pleasant to acknowledge personally or publicly. One last one really poses a challenge for us all in the Self Will category:

    When it comes to church, you tend to ask consumer-oriented questions like, “What do I like/not like? How does this make me feel? What do I get out of this?” Your wants and goals are functionally prioritized over the needs of the community and the mission of the church.

    We must remind ourselves that if our personal preferences are not aligned with God’s preferences we bring self-idolatry into church every Sunday. Whether it is attending or staying home (I don’t feel like going), not singing praises of worship (I don’t like this song/style), evaluating the appropriateness of fellow congregants (I wouldn’t wear that), not getting your normal seat (don’t they know I sit there), or evaluating the service structure (too long/too short/not enough this/too much that).  

    We can spend a lot of time focusing on our preferences and ignore the “why” of worship.

    To Glorify God!

    Paul writes in Philippians 2: 1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and  compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped , 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    Please join me in dying to self each day and living for Christ!

    Blessings in your journey with Him,

    Howie Klein | Chairman of the Elder Board