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Mission Devotional - July 12, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to not pay too much attention of the things of this world, but help me, instead, to be fully attentive to you. Then I will not work so hard trying to belong, but will rest in the fact that I belong to you. Amen.

Scripture: John 15:19

Journal: How does the need to belong manifest itself in your life? What would it look like to find your need to belong completely met in Jesus?

Reflection: If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. (John 15:19, NIV)

Belonging is an interesting thing. And the lengths we will go to in order to have a sense of belonging is interesting as well. Ultimately, we were made with a need to belong woven deeply into our souls. But when that need to belong is aimed in the wrong direction it can create chaos. When we approach our world, searching for a place to belong and a people to belong to, we become needy, insecure, and clingy. That is because we are depending on the world to give us something that it simply cannot fully give, but the little tastes the world can offer us are enough to convince us otherwise.

The problem is that when we seek belonging in the things or the people of this world we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment, because what we are actually going to receive is the exact opposite of what we are hoping for. When we approach our world with a need to belong, it actually drives those in our lives and world away from us. We become too needy, too dependent, too demanding, too insecure. Plus we become something other than our truest selves. We become who, or what, we think they - whoever they may be - want us to be instead of who we really are. Which makes any sense of belonging that we can achieve totally false to begin with.

Jesus offers us another way. "Don't try so hard to belong to this world," Jesus says, "because, in the end, it will not turn out well for you. Have your need for belonging totally and completely met in me. When you do that you will have the freedom to be yourself, your truest, God-breathed self. Then you will not have to worry about what the world thinks about you because your deepest needs for love and affection and impact and significance will be totally met in me. So stop trying so hard to belong. Be who I made you to be. Then you will be free."

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Sybil Baloyi lives in Mozambique and runs a preschool for orphaned and vulnerable children. Pray today for the vision that Sybil and her team have to add one new grade every year to the Hlauleka Christian Primary School through grade seven. Pray for Sybil today as she faithfully serves the children of her community.

Beatriz and Gustavo Fuentes lead the work of Young Life in Mozambique. Beatriz first encountered Young Life in Brazil and became a Christian through that encounter. The Fuentes moved to Beira, Mozambique in 2010 and began building relationships with teenagers there to introduce them to Jesus. Pray today for the Fuentes and the students they are reaching through Young Life.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to not be ruled by my need to belong. I belong to you and, ultimately, that is all that matters. All other belonging must flow out of this truth. Let me live for, and from, you alone this day. Amen.