Last week I sat behind the bench during my daughter’s basketball game. I overheard the coach articulating the game plan and giving a pep talk as he encouraged each player and the team as a whole. As Coach D. paced the sidelines and interacted with his players, he united the team and each one knew they played a part, they belonged. “Belonging” is the key not only to a successful, victorious team, but for us as well on our faith walk.
Over the years I have realized in almost any situation when one senses that he or she doesn’t belong or matter, a door is left wide open for the enemy to wreak havoc. Loneliness and insecurity drive us to believe the destructive lies of the enemy. He deceives us into thinking that belonging is found in anything and everything BUT the Father’s loving arms.
In Joshua 5 God had His children do two very important things in order to strengthen their faith and move forward in victory. The first has to do with “belonging” to the Father’s family (we’ll talk about the second thing on Thursday).
In Joshua 5 verse 2 the LORD said, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” Can you say Ouch! For 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness without the need for circumcision, but now a new generation was called to walk in faith and circumcision was a reminder that they belonged to God (see Genesis 17). Their future success would not come from their own strength, but instead from the fact that God the Father loved them – they belonged to Him! His strength would allow them to be victorious in battle.
I know that, today, circumcision points to the work of Christ on the Cross, where his blood was shed to bring us into relationship with the Father. I also know that the water in baptism replaces the former and is the new sign and seal of our adoption into the family of God. So, because I have been baptized, I know I belong to the Father’s family.
I’ll be honest, though, there are still times on this journey of faith I get lonely and the Jericho ahead scares me to death! How I need to be reminded daily of these words, “for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (adoption). And by him we cry ‘Abba Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s Children” (Romans 8:15, 16).
This verse strengthens me. It reminds me that I belong, that my Dad is King of the Universe. I have been baptized into His family through Jesus His Son, and He loves me! My victory is found in Him alone.
A prayer I repeat many times a day is “Abba, I belong to you!” Try praying these 5 strengthening words this week on your faith journey and watch how the Holy Spirit will give you all you need to move forward.