February 22, 2021
Do you remember why you joined the military, or chose to serve as a first responder? Many people join because it provides a sense of belonging and acceptance. The oaths sworn assures that we belong to something bigger than ourselves. A tradition that is accomplishing something good in the world. The sacrifices made as a team provide a sense of camaraderie (acceptance) that lead to a stronger bond then even some marriages experience. But what happens when you take the uniform off? Who are you apart from your uniform?Where do you go or what do you do to find that sense of belonging and acceptance? Some find their identity in their friends. If the buddies go out drinking, I’m going out drinking. If they are angry and bitter, then we pick up those same habits. Some find their identity in their marriages. We do anything and everything we can to make the other person happy. Chores, trips, and especially time dictate the decisions we make to find acceptance through another person. Some find their identity on-line. We make sure that the rest of the world sees us as having it all together. The problem with these efforts toward identity is they come with a cost. As long as we are only pleasing everyone else, we feel a sense of belongingness and acceptance. When we grow tired of pleasing the group or person, we quickly become isolated and ignored. The pain of isolation becomes unbearable, so we willingly pay whatever cost required to keep a cheap sense of belonging and acceptance. There is another place to find belonging and acceptance. It too has a cost, but the beautiful thing is that it’s already been paid by someone else. Jesus willingly gave His life so that we could be accepted forever. He died so that we could belong to a group that is more than a passing fad. Jesus’ actions guarantee our status as adopted children (Romans 8:15). That may sound like a step backward, but in the Roman world adoption was more significant than being a natural born child. An adopted child in that time meant you would inherit the father’s estate and could not be excluded like a natural child. It was a deliberate decision of acceptance and belonging by the father. That is what we have with our Father, the Creator of the Universe through the power and work of Jesus. If we are children of God, then we should live differently. Our identity is secure, so we don’t have to do the same things as the others to fit in. We don’t have to dress a certain way or say certain things to know who we are. We are children of God with a given purpose to accomplish His mission in the world. And that mission is living a life that brings glory to Him and points others to the place of true and eternal acceptance and belonging.