Life is all about relationship. Who and what you relate to and how and why you relate to them are the defining, molding ingredients of each relationship. There has never been a time in my life or in the lives of those around me that I have observed no need for belonging.
Hermits or loners in this world, I would put forth for consideration, are far-and-few-between. "No man is an island..." (John Donne) - I believe is truth for the majority. And even the hermits I have known have a pet for company and have to converse with a human at some point for essential needs.
The kinds of groups that tend to bring us a sense of belonging in this world are assemblies such as the work setting, one's religious meeting place or affiliation, same team sport venues, support groups for life challenges and any other group that we assign value or worth for our time and energies.
Wouldn't life be nice if there was the perfect relationship? Wouldn't living be much more bearable if we found the perfect place and/or relationship where we knew and felt we belonged?
You see belonging brings with it association with a person, place or thing. Many people belong or actively participate so much in their gang, bunch, crowd or organization that they are identified by that belonging. Many individuals belong to their work and sacrifice other elements of their lives, like family life. Other people belong to their families first and friendships feel the brunt of being second fiddle. Prioritization comes front and center in the consideration of belonging in a group or individual relationship.
However, there is a perfect relationship. Believe it or not, one where relating to you on every level is met. You and I are promised trouble in life, but we are also guaranteed that this other person I am referring to in the relationship has overcome the world and its systems (John 16:33). The perfect relationship is with Christ Jesus.
Paul encouraged the Romans, as he does all Christians down through the ages, "If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." (Romans 14:8)
How can non-believers so easily come to the conclusion they need Christ in their life and directing their decisions? How can Christians be assured of the faith they have declared for however long they have been a believer of Christ? According to the writer of Hebrews, because "we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin." (Heb. 4:15)
Somehow, naturally and supernaturally, Jesus Christ has experienced every conceivable "weakness" and/or mistake ever made by anyone. However, His "no" was strong enough to thwart and/or conqueor every instance.
Jesus is the Master, Savior and Creator who relates. But not only does He relate, He provides His strength and all the rest of His Holy character traits due to His victories with "no". All we have to do is - "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matt. 7:7-12)
For those searching to belong, Jesus is always ready for another personal relationship and another potential family member to say "yes" to His invitation. Psalm 86:15 supports this view of God saying, "But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."
For those already in The Faith, be encouraged and assured - there is no better relationship to have than with Christ and no better association, even with our bumps, than The Church, the family of God.
There are so many people and things that are competing for our earnest association or belongingness. Prioritization of what we consider most valuable or worthy of pure, life-long dedication will reveal who or what we belong to. Something to consider in all that we are associated with is - does the value/worth of kinship or inclusion have eternal benefits?
I believe what you do here on earth now and the relationships you cultivate presently will echo into eternity. Our current existence is a shadow or foretaste of things to come for both those who see eternal value in belonging in a relationship with Christ and those that do not.
Christ promises, we will "bear much fruit", fruit being productive, Christ-like answers and character because we are aligned with Him - "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
I have aligned myself with Christ. I try to remain "in Christ" daily. I will always be His son and part of His family/kingdom. The many benefits I read about in Scripture that are too numerous to list here are not only great convincing tools for the unbeliever and assurance mechanisms for the believer but eternal hopes I can hang my hat on. However, the prominent clincher for me in deciding who or what I desire to belong - is Christ the relatable, sacrificial, Son of God. That is what and who gives me my Belonging.
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