How often do you struggle to remember that you belong?
Were you left wondering if you belong when you scanned the junior high cafeteria, looking for a place to sit? The doubt might have started before that too. In second grade, I can remember the loneliness of competing to keep my place, coming in third out of three in a friendship. Those playground days should have been about swinging and foursquare and silliness, but instead I worked hard to be the one hearing and sharing the schoolgirl gossip, so I wouldn’t be the topic of the mean-spirited whispers. Fast forward to high school. Becoming Homecoming Queen should have made me feel accepted by the other kids, but it didn’t.
Instead the cry of my heart has always been: You’re not enough. You don’t belong here. You’ll never be enough. Whether it was trying to figure out who I was in college, or finding my feet in my career, or struggling as young wife and then mother, the feeling that stuck was that I would always come up short.
Do you ever feel disconnected in your closest relationships? Do you feel a little lost thinking about your “five-year plan”? Some people you meet are filled to the brim with confidence…but most of us struggle, some of us daily, to feel like we’ve got it all together.
The doubt that comes from wondering if you belong is a part of the human condition — the Bible explains that we are sojourners, strangers in a strange land. Feeling out of sorts, and out of place, is a natural result of the Fall. Because of their disobedience, “the Eternal God banished Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden and exiled humanity from paradise, sentencing humans to laborious lives working the very ground man came from” (Genesis 3:23, VOICE).
We are exiles. Paul explains that “as long as we live in these [earthly] bodies we are not at home with the Lord” and, whether we are aware of it or not, part of feeling out of sorts for Christians is that “we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8, NLT).
It’s easy to lose perspective on who we are, and Whose we are, in the midst of our exile, in the middle of daily struggles, but learning/remembering this is the only way to walk well in the wilderness of life and to move into the ministry God has for us. On Monday, we talked about how Lent commemorates Jesus’ time in the wilderness.
In Matthew 4:1 we see that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. But let’s backtrack. In the verse immediately before chapter 4, we see this:
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’
So today, I thought we should take note of the timing of God’s confirmation of Jesus. Before He entered the wilderness, before He entered ministry, God told Jesus that He belonged, that He was loved. Jesus knew His Heavenly Father delighted in Him. And anyone within earshot knew it too. This was a very public declaration of approval.
When Jesus encountered the taunting voice of Satan, He knew who He was and Whose He was. When Jesus experienced the contempt and conspiracies of the Pharisees, He knew who He was and Whose He was. When He faced the Cross, Jesus knew who He was and Whose He was. Knowing that He belonged gave Jesus the strength to walk in His calling.
Do you know?
Do you know that you belong? If you love Him, if you are walking with Him, if you know Him, you belong to the High King of Heaven. You belong. [tweetthis]If you love Him, you belong to the High King of Heaven. You belong. #BGBG2 #IdentityinChrist[/tweetthis] Next week, we’ll look more at living like we belong, because that’s the key to an abundant life.
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