Encouragement for Today Devotions

Encouragement for Today | 12 January 2022 | Wednesday Message

Encouragement for Today | 12 January 2022
Encouragement for Today | 12 January 2022 | Daily Devotional | Message By Ruth Chou Simons (Proverbs 31 Ministries)

Topic: When You’re Looking for Belonging

Today’s Scripture: “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 6:19-20 (ESV)

Encouragement for Today | 12 January 2022 Message

It was 1981, and my newly immigrated parents trusted my kindergarten sense of awareness enough to concede to a Strawberry Shortcake metal lunchbox.

With that lunchbox in hand, I felt prepared for anything — but I wasn’t prepared for the lunchroom.

My parents didn’t know about Rainbo white bread, peanut butter and jelly, or bologna and American cheese. They showed their love by packing a cleaned-out Dannon yogurt container with the previous night’s dinner of fried rice. Let’s just say it didn’t go over well with my peers. Leftover fried rice effectively declared me an outsider. I did not belong.

It’s funny now … and of course we know lunchroom conformity isn’t true belonging.

Or do we? If only bringing the right lunch secured the belonging we’re all looking for! We know it doesn’t. But truth is, we live as though it might.

These days, it sometimes feels like the entire world is marked by angst and heartache. Like everyone on the internet is yelling at the same time about a variety of issues and ideologies. At times, we probably all navigate the fear of being misjudged, misunderstood or mislabeled.

Belonging is our current society’s commodity of choice — banding together with like-minded people and finding safety in arenas of common thought.

To be known and loved: That’s what we are longing for when we look for belonging. But what if belonging isn’t meant to be found within yourself or others? What if it is so much more than lunchroom conformity?

The Bible has a lot to say about our belonging as Christ-followers:

According to God’s Word, our self-acceptance isn’t something we’ll discover with enough self-love. Rather, it’s an extension of the work of redemption in our lives when we discover how much God loves us. We were made to belong to Jesus first. Not church denominations, political parties, justice movements or social circles.

In Christ, belonging isn’t mere affection, camaraderie or membership in the same club … It is so much more. The price of our belonging was set and met through the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. That’s why Paul tells us we are “not [our] own” in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. God loves us so much that He rescued us from the grip of anything else that promises to satisfy but won’t. And instead, He made us belong to Him alone.

When we don’t remember that we were made to be God’s possessions, and what it cost for us to be His, we end up longing for belonging everywhere else. Through the clothes we wear, the people we engage, the work we do — we look for home in identifiers rather than in our identities in Christ.

We must know who we belong to! In Christ, we are fit and fashioned for the belonging we were always made for. So, friend, let go of all the world tells you to do in order to belong. In Jesus, you are already seen, known, rescued and loved.

Lord, thank You for Paul’s reminder that nothing — no weakness and no pressure — is too hard for You. Still my striving and help me replace it with wonder for Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS

To explore the idea of performance and unpack how grace changes everything, pick up a copy of Ruth Chou Simons’ newest book, When Strivings Cease.

To learn more about the book, watch the official trailer on Ruth’s YouTube channel.

ENGAGE

Learn more about Ruth’s ministry and role as the founder of GraceLaced at ruthchousimons.com.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of When Strivings Cease by Ruth Chou Simons. To celebrate this book, Ruth’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, January 17, 2022.}

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Romans 14:7-8, “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (ESV)

What things do you tend to turn to for belonging? How can you practically remind yourself that you belong to Christ?

© 2022 by Ruth Chou Simons. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106
www.Proverbs31.org

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