Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Sense Of Belonging

Grace gives us a place where we belong. God extends His welcome to us. Eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil resulted in Adam and Eve being on the outside. Grace results in us being on the inside.

A narcissist never feels like an outsider. I think most of us have felt that feeling of being on the outside even if it was self imposed.

The prodigal son story comes to mind. One son pushed himself outside. His mind was already wandering and soon His body matched his mindset. The elder brother thought his brother was unfit to belong again. The Father was generous and welcoming claiming both brothers were the possessors of his possessions.

"So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." - 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 ESV

There are confident people out there that are admired because of their confidence but their sense of belonging is really theft. Our belonging, if it is real, is a nested belonging that is the result of grace. Like the prodigal we have minds that tend to wander outside and like the elder brother we also have minds that own a position for the wrong reasons.

"You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men." - 1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

We belong because of grace. We belong to God in Christ who is right where He belongs in the Father's heart. God is everywhere so we can have a sense of belonging wherever we are.

"And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter. Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it. As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in." - Isaiah 28:17-20 ESV

That takes a different tone doesn't it? It took a famine in the land for the prodigal to discover where he really belonged. If we belong to God than there are places we don't belong. There are ways of thinking that will cause extreme dissatisfaction. If it is not grace than it is like a cover that is too narrow to cover us and keep us warm.

Holidays are funny times because what we have and what we don't have become amplified.

"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" - Ephesians 1:5-7 KJV

We belong because God sent His Son into the world. We belong because Jesus paid our entrance fee. That is the one and only reason. It is a narrow gate that many do not find but it opens into a wide place.

There is food and comfort aplenty in the father's house. Grace is a warm blanket that covers us in spite of us. God has a table with a place set just for us and a warm embrace waiting that will nourish us and give us back the strength we lost in our wandering.


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