I belong

Belonging to Christ, not the Law

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

Romans 7:4 NIV

“I just can’t do anything right!  I can’t please you!”  Have you ever yelled those words? Screamed them in your head?  Usually, they are directed at a person whose expectations are just too much for you to meet, but whom you desperately want to make happy.

A father.  A mother.  A husband.  A child. “I love you.  I want you to be pleased with me. I keep trying, this way and that way, with new techniques, new resolve, with effort overflowing, and yet … I fail.  I can’t keep all your rules and follow all your directions perfectly enough to win your favor.”

That’s the position the Israelites were in with the Old Testament law.  They had a gazillion rules to keep, and they kept breaking them, because those Israelites were as human and broken and sinful as you and me.  They had become slaves to the law.  It had become miserable.

And then Jesus came, offering a new way to find God.  Not through rules, but through grace.  This verse describes the turning point.  Before, you were married to the law.  You belonged to it.   But you died to it.  And you have a new life now, one in which you belong to someone utterly unlike the law – Jesus.

Instead of offering us a list of rules and a grumpy face because He knows we’ll break them, Jesus says … Come, be mine.  Let me love you. Give your life to me and let me mold you. Let me point out your sins, not to wear you down but to help you live more freely without their chains. Let me accept you despite all your faults.  You please me, just because … you belong to me.

When we live under that kind of freedom, when we are cherished by God, the good fruits (good works) grow out of grateful hearts transformed, not enslaved hearts striving to try to get it right.

Belonging. Freedom. Joy.  Mine in Christ.

I belong

I Belong: A Joint Post

The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 5:5, NKJV

From Jen

Ever hear the phrase “weird middle kid”? I’m one of those—the middle of five. And, yeah, we’re a little on the different side. I’ve always attributed that to the fact that I never really fit in the line-up of kids. Not one of the big kids (who were both boys, so that didn’t help much). Not one of the little kids (who were and are still very close. Can we say outsider?).

Okay, so I know this sounds like a poor Jen post, but I’ve made peace with my lot in life ;). The point is I’ve lived a large portion of my life feeling like I didn’t belong. However, moving out, going to college, and striking at life as an adult, I’ve discovered something: Most of us feel that way. Oldest, youngest and everyone in between; most of us, at some point or another, feel like we don’t belong.

I have a theory about that. If we thought we belonged, we’d never know we were lost. If we didn’t know we were lost, we’d never search for a home. And home . . . home is the Father’s heart. The place where we actually, really and truly belong.

From Susan

I love the verse Jen chose to illustrate belonging. God’s love has been poured out — the pitcher turned upside down and dumped – into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

I am in the midst of moving. The stress of packing, living out of boxes, registering my kids in a new school, still having to edit (my job doesn’t stop just because my life is hectic), and running almost daily back and forth between two states as we try to finalize all the paperwork to sell our home – well, it had me in tears yesterday. So, I called my Mommy. I cried on her and even yelled a little. I knew she’d accept me despite my bad behavior, because I belong to her. I am rock-solid confident in her love for me. I’m hers. I always will be.

As I hung up the phone, feeling better, the Holy Spirit pricked me. I’m His, too, yet I wasn’t telling him about my woes. Why not? I searched for the answer and came up with this: I’m ashamed that I’m stressed. This is minor stuff, and it all comes as a result of blessings: a new home and a new church that loves us and has called my husband as pastor. Really, I didn’t want to bother the God of the Universe with my petty moving stress when there are people out there struggling with cancer, persecution, and depression.

But God reminded me that I am His daughter, His. And while my current trials may not be big stuff, He wants me to unload on Him so He can help me, change my perspectives, convict me where I am wrong and blanket me in peace. He will accept me just as surely as my mother does, even when I am behaving badly.

I belong to Him. He’s poured out His love into my heart. It is far more overwhelming than my mother’s love. And that’s saying a lot. I have a fiercely loving mother.

Ever so much fiercer is my God’s love for those who belong to Him.