Where do you belong? Who do you belong to?
The answer to those questions may not be as straightforward to many as they will be for Christians. A sense of belonging is something that many people crave, especially in a world where the feeling of disconnection from others is commonplace and displacement is a huge problem. Modern technology, mobility, and the current refugee crisis have millions of people asking similar questions.
For those who feel isolated because of their lack of meaningful relationships and those who feel out of place in foreign surroundings, the solutions to their problems seem rooted in meeting a criteria. The possession of a desired set of characteristics could help someone who's feeling lonely be welcomed into a social group, and acquiring the necessary paperwork can help the displaced move to a place which they can develop an attachment to.
But in both instances, the connection is temporary. To establish a permanent sense of belonging, we have to look beyond people and places. What we discover through Jesus is that belonging is about so much more than a relationship with something, it's about a relationship with someone. And what's so inspiring about belonging to Jesus is that we don't need to fit a certain criteria. He welcomes us no matter who we are, where we're from and what we've done.
Here are eight Bible verses which reveal who we belong to:
Psalm 100:3 - Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
John 10:27-28 - My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Romans 14:8 - If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 6:19 - Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 - Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 John 3.1 - See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 4:4 - You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.