The Blessing of Belonging

Ever feel like you don’t belong?  I will never forget the day in middle school when I was picked last to be on the dodge ball team; the team captain grumbled, “I guess we’ll have to take Boland.”  Wow!  Did I feel like I didn’t belong!  For all of you who have experienced that awful sense of rejection and isolation, I have a word of ineffable comfort for you today!

You also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

(Romans 1:6)

Marinate in that for a moment!  You have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.  From the moment we are born we belong to our family.  As we grow up, we belong to a number of different groups: neighborhood, school, team, work, church, organizations.  The problem is we often don’t feel like we fit in very well.  We pursue acceptance, attention, and the applause of man in a desperate attempt to feel like we belong.  It is a restless, relentless, recurring theme in all our lives.  The problem is, when we look for acceptance and approval in anything smaller than Jesus, it never measures up . . . never satisfies . . . and never delivers on its promises.  Only belonging to Jesus can do all that—and so much more!

When you belong to Jesus, you belong to the One who paid for you with His precious blood.  Jesus wanted you so much that He was willing to die to make you His!  And the best thing about belonging to Jesus is you don’t have to keep pursuing acceptance, attention, and the applause of man; you already have all the acceptance and attention you could ever imagine!  God loves you with an eternal love . . . even when others are not particularly fond of you.  Jesus not only desires you, He delights in you! 

Belonging to Jesus means your relationship with Him is unbroken, unbreakable, and unparalleled.  Nothing compares to belonging to Jesus, because nothing and no one compares to Jesus.  To be sure, it is a good gift from God to belong to our families, schools, churches, businesses, and communities; but at their best these provide only a shadow of what it means to belong to Jesus. 

The apostle Paul understood that belonging at the deepest level.  He frequently introduced himself as he did In Romans 1:1, as “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus.” In the original Greek the word would be rendered slave, rather than servant, but most readers in today’s world find the word “slave” repugnant.  The last thing someone wants to be is another’s slave.  But for the Christian, whose Master is Jesus, the word slave is exactly what we want to be.

Jesus said that He had come to set the captives free from their bondage to Satan and to sin.  To be a slave of Christ is the sweetest of all stations to occupy in this life, because it is in our relationship with Him that we are to find our identity—not in our family . . . not in our work . . . not in our ministry . . . not in our finances.  Being called to belong to Jesus means our identity is forever to be found in Him.     

Before we close today, let me offer one more magnificent blessing of belonging to Jesus and that is that He belongs to you! In His great High Priestly prayer, Jesus lifted us up to His father: “John 17:20-23

 [I ask for] those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me . . .” (John 17:20-23, emphasis added).

This transcends even the blessings we receive from belonging to Jesus.  Yes, we receive His pardon, His imputed righteousness, His forgiveness, His victory over sin and death. We are his bride, adopted into His family of faith, and so much more.  But above all of that, we receive Him.  Jesus is our possession and our portion, and nothing in either life or death can separate us from Him.  Oh, the blessing of belonging to Jesus and Jesus belonging to you!

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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