By Kelly Shaw
Kelly is a member of the SVM2 international facilitation team and currently lives among the unreached.
In this age, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in thinking that we belong to ourselves. Beginning in early adolescence, we struggle to separate ourselves from our parents and begin to find a social identity with our peers.
In junior high and high school, I (Kelly) kept looking for a group of friends with which to identify. I finally found a group of people that I could relate to in my local church. It was also during this stage of my life that I came to better understand my faith and accept it as my own, rather than relying on mom or dad.
After graduating from high school, it was time for me to go to college and find my physical independence apart from my parents. I had a couple of jobs while I was in college to earn my own money and pay for my living expenses.
At every turn in our journey, we are forced to think in terms of getting our independence and making things our own. This independent spirit is not necessarily as good as it seems, however.
Independence is fine in relation to distinguishing ourselves from our parents at the appropriate time, physically, financially and so on. The problem is that this attitude of independence has also shaped our spirituality.
We think that we have a faith that belongs to us individually, when in reality it’s all about embracing a faith through which we belong to Jesus. We are not our own.
When we choose to believe in Jesus, we also choose to belong to Him. Not only did God choose us (John 15:16) to bear fruit, but in John 17, Jesus stresses over and over again that we belong to Him.
This may seem fundamental – and it is. But some people, including myself, have been confused about what it means to belong to Jesus.
People usually think of the privileges that go with being His… help when we’re in trouble, advice when we need counsel, comfort when we’re hurting, and His rejoicing with us in our joys. Yet most children know what we sometimes forget, that with privileges come responsibilities or chores.
In John 17:18, Jesus commissions us with he same mission that He was given by the Father, to ‘go into the world’. It’s not just about what I want to do with my life for God, but what God wants to do through me. God’s heart is to reach the world, and there is a specific part for each one of us to play in telling the forgotten peoples of the earth who Jesus is.
What is the responsibility that God has entrusted to you because you belong to Him? What is your part of fulfilling the desire of His heart?
What talents and abilities has God given to you to tell the world about Jesus? It is time to cast off the independent spirit the world encourages, and recognize both the privileges and the responsibilities that come with belonging to Christ.