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The Revelation of Belonging

Belong is a bit of a goofy word.

Say it a few times and tell me it doesn't feel like you're just playing with sounds while you're trying to think of a better word. Ok, maybe that's just me.

The desire to belong, on the other hand, is something we wrestle with throughout our lives. We try not to give in to it so that we don't become social chameleons. Many of us carry scars from groups we have been a part of. There are others who take it for granted, as they always seem to fit in wherever they go. Whatever the case, we were designed to belong in community. Each of us created out of love, for love, to be loved.

What we may not realize is that our ability to grow is intimately connected with our security as a valuable member of a loving community. This originates from our Creator as we are made in the image of God, our image.

It was this point which caught my attention last Sunday. In taking a close look at Romans 12:1-5 we received God's truth and it challenged the voices in our world. Spiritual growth is not simply dependent upon self-discovery, determination, or discipline. A necessary element is the revelation of belonging.

We who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.

Being a covenanted member of our church was not of my own doing, it was His placement that I have received. This was a revelation and not a decision. There is no one like me at Christ Church...thank God.

I pray that every person who reads that last paragraph will be able to confess that truth in faith.

We have been called together for a common purpose and that means that every individual contributes to our corporate identity. It is no earthly agenda we proclaim but the advance of God's Kingdom. We are in Christ. We forgive, love one another, come alongside in faith, serve, and pray together. We celebrate, weep, struggle, laugh, and move as one body. As a fully committed member of the church I understand the expectation that I will not withhold my gifting from our Kingdom family.

Confession time: it is not natural for me to participate.

I am completely content with sitting in a quiet corner and seeing other people shine. Fortunately, God loved me too much to let me be. I do not simply belong IN this church, all that Christ has built me to be belongs TO this church. I have found abundant life in contributing to our household of faith. I have made deep friendships, been ministered to in times of distress, and grown in every season. My life has been transformed by the Holy Spirit and I can point to the moment I gave myself to the local church where God had placed me. Christ decided that I belong to you. I cannot possibly hope to repay Him for His work on the cross or the gift of eternal life or the freedom from Sin. I can embrace my participatory identity in this family where I have been called to belong.

Belong is such a beautiful word.

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