“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”   – Romans 8:15
 

Have I ever told you about my family’s farm in West Virginia?  It’s where my mom was born and raised.  My 93-year old grandmother “Granny” still lives there today.  It is an historical site. To the best of my knowledge, my great, great, great…grandfather was the first to settle in that area, living among the native Indians after having left one of the original colonies.  He was a McNeel, of Scottish origin, coming from the island of Bara off the coast of Scottland where the McNeel castle still stands today.  Sitting atop a high hill on our farm is the McNeel family cemetary with gravestones dating back to the late 1700’s. 

Why do I share this with you?  I’m proud of my history and heritage, and feel blessed to have a family base to go back to.  It gives me a sense of identity and belonging in this world. 

Many people do not have a recorded family history or even a base to call home.  We live in a transient world, especially here in the United States.  More and more people are leaving their hometowns in search of better opportunities and different lifestyles.  Those in small towns seek the faster pace and greater opportunities of the big cities.  People who have tired of the hustle and bustle of city life retreat to quiet, rural areas.  Others have worked hard to earn rest in retirement and seek climates and places that will offer them more enjoyment in their lives.  And many people are leaving their home countries and cultures to begin new lives in far-away parts of the world. 

With so much movement in our world today, many are seeking a sense of belonging. 

I remember moving from Indiana to Charlotte.  I desperately wanted to make friends, get involved, and become familiar with my new surroundings and community because I desperately needed a sense of belonging.  I wasn’t active in church at that time and I hadn’t come to know the Lord like I do today.  If I had, I don’t think I’d have felt so desperate to ‘belong’.  I would have been secure in my place of belonging with the Lord.

The Bible tells us that we are all God’s children.  However, the early Christians were mostly of Jewish descent and some of the first Christians made others feel that they didn’t belong in this new family of faith.  The Apostle Paul quickly assured those seeking a sense of belonging that they had been ‘grafted in’. “…and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,…”     – Romans 11:17   Jewish people had been set apart in ancient days to be God’s holy people, but after the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the invitation to be a Believer was open to everyone.  Paul spent most of his adult life reaching out to the Gentiles to bring them in to the body of faith, assuring them that they belonged in God’s family as part of the body of Christ.

 As is taught in DisicpleBible study, we needn’t be concerned about who we are because we can be sure of whose we are.  Knowing we’re children of God, that He is our Abba (Father), and that we have been grafted into the body of Christian believers, gives us the assurance that we belong to the Father.  We are His.  We are all sons and daughters of Adam.  We belong to the family of God, with brothers and sisters in Christ here, there, and everywhere.  Our sense of belonging is in Him. 

Dear God, Thank you for loving ALL of your people, and for helping us to know that no matter where we live or how we live, we belong to You.  Let us never feel alone or outcast.  Instead let us remember that you became our Abba, Father when you adopted us as your own children, and that as Believers, we can be assured that each of us has our own place within the body of Christ.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray.  Amen.

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