Today is the second post in this series: 11 Bible Verses to Grow Your Faith in 2017.
In each post I will introduce one name of God and one Bible verse that will grow your view of God, and in turn grow your faith. If you missed the first verse, you can find it here.
The first morning I woke up in the beautiful island of Grenada, after meeting the wonderful team of women I would serve alongside for the week, I slipped away for a few quiet minutes alone with Jesus.
Sitting on a concrete step, I opened the stiff, cream pages of my new leather journal and wrote these words, “Oh Lord, what in the world am I doing here so far away from home? What can I give these people we came to serve? I’m not like these other women on our team. Show me how I belong.”
The sense of belonging is a normal human need, just like the need for food and shelter. We need to know we fit somewhere, like we are a part of something greater than ourselves.
The word belong can be defined as:
- be the property of, to be the rightful possession of;
- be a member or part of;
- fit in a specific place or environment;
- have the right personal or social qualities to be a member of a particular group
When I was little, belonging came easy. I belonged to my family. They were my people; my place of safety.
As I got older and my need for belonging grew, I found my place in the things I did. I belonged to a youth group, and I belonged with the cheerleaders. I belonged to a college and a sorority.
In the early days, I knew where I fit.
But after college, when I began life on my own, I struggled with my sense of belonging. Where did I fit now that it is just me?
What I didn’t know then was that our sense of belonging is intricately connected to our identity. When we are secure in who we are, our sense of belonging follows.
The same God who made the whole world and everything in it (Elohim) is also the owner of all (Adonai).
The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all. Psalm 89:11 NLT
When God says that He owns everything, He means everything. As believers, you and I fall into the category of God’s possessions too.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
… we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:8
The word belong used in Romans 14 means, “he who has the power of deciding, master, lord”. When Jesus died on the cross, taking away our penalty and shame, He purchased the right to ownership (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Jesus is our Lord; We belong to Him.
Many of us struggle with this truth.
We read the words ownership and possession, and suddenly the muscles in our shoulders tense up. Without warning, our left eye begins twitching.
I’m an independent woman. Nobody owns me!
When I married my husband, we gave each other a ring as a symbol of our love and commitment to one another.
I wear my ring proudly every day – not because it’s big or fancy but because it communicates to the world that I belong to someone. I belong to Erik.
My belonging to my husband is in no way oppressive or domineering. It’s a relationship grounded in love. With him I am cared for, protected, and cherished.
I am His, and He is mine.
When I was studying the name Adonai, I came across something that captured my attention.
In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter writes:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
When I looked up the Greek word for belonging, I learned that the Greek root of this word carries with it the idea of making a ring around something to mark it as its own.
“A people belonging to God.”
So when Jesus calls us His own – when He says we belong to Him – it’s as if He’s tenderly sliding a ring around us saying, “This one belongs to me.”
We are His, and He is ours.
It’s a relationship grounded in scandalous love. With Him, I am cared for, protected, and cherished. I belong to Him. And, I belong with Him.
When we call Jesus our Lord (Adonai), we are placing ourselves under His authority and rule. As God’s treasured possessions, we can trust that we will always be perfectly cared for. Our Lord will never mishandle or misuse us.
He is only and always good.
I chose Psalm 100:3 as our memory verse for this week. It is a powerful identity verse for us to inscribe on our heart that reminds us of whose we are.
#1: Memorize the verse.
I made printable note cards and cell phone screen image again to help us keep this verse in front of us. Download the cards and put them somewhere you’ll see often (like your bathroom mirror, on your computer, in your car).
#2: Let yourself be His.
Remember, identity and belonging go hand and hand. When we are confident and secure in whose we are, our sense of belonging follows.
Friend, if you have given your life to Jesus as your Savior, He is rightfully your Lord. You belong to Him.
So, let yourself be His.
Let yourself be cared for, protected, loved and cherished by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
You will never find a love greater or a belonging more secure. He is everything you need.
I’ll post the next Monthly Memory Verse on April 4th. Until then, be His.