<<fitting in, being in the right place>>

“You are among those called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:6). In contrast, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ they do not belong to Him” – they are not saved (Rom 8:9). “Those that belong to God hear what He says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God...My sheep listen to my voice” (Jn 8:47, 10:27). Christians are Christ’s ones i.e. they belong to God’s family.

One of the great heart needs of humanity is to feel accepted. Belonging means inclusion and with it come closeness, bonding, connection and security with the opportunity for the added blessing of both giving and receiving love as the relationship grows. Through the dynamics of belonging you share something in common, entering into another’s world, sharing in their joys and sorrows (Rom 12:15). It is being involved in the lives of others, not just to bless, encourage and serve but also to challenge or hold them accountable. Remember this also makes you vulnerable by giving them permission to speak into your life!

Membership in any organisation requires that there are obligations from everyone concerned, to contribute in some form of giving as well as receiving. The privileges, rights and benefits of belonging to Christ include: forgiveness of sin (Eph 1:7); being rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into God’s Kingdom (Col 1:13); unconditional

Belonging includes responsibilities as well as rights

love (1 Jn 3:1); the Holy Spirit within (Jn 14:16); an inheritance in Christ as sons of God (1 Pet 1:4); being part of God’s great family (Eph 2:19); eternal life (Jn 3:16); the Holy Spirit who will never leave us (Heb13:5); a loving heavenly Father who acts for our best (Mt 7:11).

This freedom from the clutches of sin and its effects gained for us by Christ should cause heartfelt appreciation and devotion (Jn 8:32; 1Jn 3:8). He won the victory; it is our job to outwork it. Because we belong to God we have responsibilities or obligations: to love Him with all our being (Mk 12:30); walk worthy of Christ by living a godly life (Col 1:10); submitting to the Lordship of Christ (Mt 7:21); surrendering our will to His (Mt 26:39); obeying the Bible’s teaching and the Holy Spirit’s leading (Jn 15:14). Our responsibilities to others of the human race to which we belong include: forgiving them, or else we are not forgiven (Mt 6:14,15); loving them as Christ loved us (Jn 13:34); carrying the burdens of others (Gal 6:2); witnessing to the lost (Act 1:8); doing to others as we would like them to do to us (Lk 6:31); willing to share our belongings (Eph 4:28).

Even if, in our natural earthly family, there is no sense of belonging, there is in the body of Christ. In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all others (Rom 12:5). Belonging involves connection or togetherness. Together, not separated, we are His body (1 Cor 12:25-27). As we relate and serve in co-operation for the overall good of the whole, we find our meaning and fulfilment through the outworking of our various gifts. Belonging infers acceptance and commitment by all involved.

God made special provision to meet the human ‘need to belong’ in the marriage relationship (Gen 2:24). “I belong to my lover” (SOS 7:10). Through this union each partner’s body in a sense also belongs to the other spouse because they have become ‘one flesh’ (1 Cor 7:4).  This is a key reason for its protection.

See also: acceptance, alone, connection, family, friends/friendships, loneliness, ownership, relationships, responsible/responsibility, rights, self-esteem.