Belonging to God's Family
'Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.'
Colossians 3v12-15 (NIV)
Find your identity and you discover a community. Know who you are and you find a place to belong. We all want to belong, to be accepted and welcomed. That's why identity is so important to us. But there is a problem - it's always about 'me'! In my search for identity, I gather around me a group of people who; serve my needs and my desires; who affirm me and never challenge me; who make me happy and never make demands of me. While satisfying and fulfilling for a time, it ultimately leaves us lonely and isolated. However, we were created by God, to belong to God's family, a community were we serve others and experience: Compassion; Kindness; Humility; Gentleness; Patience; Forgiveness; Love; Peace.
First, Chosen by God. We are all created by God, but those who are united to Christ through faith, are also 'God's chosen people.' We were chosen to be Holy, set apart for God; We were chosen to experience his Love; We were chosen to be beautiful in character, clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. This is our true identity. It's not something I find, but a gift I receive. God does not set us apart because we are beautiful in character, He chooses us to become beautiful in character. Not the external beauty, but an inner beauty, a character that loves others as God loved us. As God's chosen people we belong to God, we are accepted and welcomed, eternally loved.
Second, Belonging to each other. Not only are we Chosen by God we become part of God's family. We are, 'members of one body'. We are all created differently with unique gifts and abilities, however they are not given for ourselves, but for the good of the wider body, the family. God does not choose us to live as isolated individuals serving our own desires, he chose us to belong to his family, to serve the needs of others. We bear with 'each other', we forgive 'one another'. When we fall, we are not written off. When we fail, we are not turned away. When we forget to show kindness, we are not pushed out. We 'forgive as the Lord forgave you.' It's the kind of community where the broken are welcomed, and the outsider accepted. Together we become the people God created us to be.
We all want to belong, to be accepted and welcomed. That belonging is experienced, when we turn from self and trust in God. As we do, we discover that we are 'dearly loved' and 'members of his family.' A community marked by love that binds us together in perfect unity.
Father thank you that we are Chosen by God and belong to each other. Thank you for your perfect plan of uniting us together in love. Help us to forgive each other as you forgave us, and enable us to serve one another as you served us.