belongingEveryone is born with “designer cravings.” God created the human spirit with certain longings, one of which is the longing for intimacy, chiefly with God Himself and also with people. Needless to say, parents wield tremendous power to help establish a healthy foundation in this regard. We enjoy you; we love being with you; we are so glad that we are family. This is conveyed with words but mainly with actions, including the investment of quality time. We all want to experience what it is to belong. 

Growing in intimacy with God is an equipping dynamic, enabling us to form bonds with people. There’s a wonderful “bounce back” effect as well: the kinship we feel with God makes us secure to relate to people and the kinship we feel with people imbibes us with fresh reassurance to approach God.

Jesus and the Father have come into my life, making their home in me. I am indwelt by the presence of the Godhead. (John 14:23) There is “Another” living in me. Life is the wonderful adventure and progressive discovery of the depths of this mystical union. 

The concept of “belonging to another” is clearly expressed in Romans seven: Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (7:4 ESV) The death of Christ on the cross had made you “dead” to the claims of the Law, and you are free to give yourselves in marriage, so to speak, to another, the one who was raised from the dead, that you may be productive for God. (J.B.Phillips) The Apostle Paul uses the marriage metaphor to illustrate the profound depth of what it means to be one with Christ.

Another exhortation from Paul: But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:17-20) We belong to another. 

In the next chapter, he continues the theme of sexual purity under the banner of marital intimacy. Victory over sexual temptation for husbands and wives is greatly supported by an ongoing, healthy sexual interaction. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Cor.7:4) The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. (The Message) We belong to another.

Belonging has been likened to “inseparability.” Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39) When I encounter married couples who have grown distant, even to the point of seeking separation, I inquire as to their felt sense of belonging in God. In most cases, if one can be restored, so can the other.

photo credit: Robin Norgren via photopin cc

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