Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Gift of Belonging - in marriage and family life

Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Ephesians 5: 24-26 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

We all have the need to feel that we belong. We have a need to feel accepted in our families, circles of friends, churches and communities. This is true for everyone regardless of age, gender, race or financial status. Young children need to feel loved and accepted by their parents, as teens also do. Even adult children will continue to look for acceptance from their parents. It is important that parents spend much time pouring into the life of their children. No amount of money or extravagant gifts can take the place of quality time spent with your child. Not only are many good memories formed this way but the gift of belonging will be experienced by your children. Read the Bible to your children and pray with them. Take an interest in what is going on in their life and with their friends. Talk with your kids and treat them with respect.

 A wife needs to feel loved, accepted and appreciated by her husband. A husband needs love and acceptance from his wife. I remember when my husband and I were in premarital counselling many years ago, our Pastor pointed out this need of belonging that we have. Perhaps women are even more needy in this area than men. Our Pastor suggested that a husband should show love and appreciation to his wife in public regularly. This includes verbal affirmation of course but also simple things like holding hands with your wife or putting your arm around her in church or in other public settings. By doing this publically and in honesty you are declaring to your wife and everyone around "She is mine and I am proud to be able to call her mine!" This is the gift of belonging. Get to know your wife. God is first, but next is your spouse. Your spouse is a gift from the Lord a your greatest treasure. A wife needs to show love and respect to her husband. This includes listening to him when he talks to you, encouraging him in his line of work, straight up telling him that you admire him and that he is good at different things. This also includes being a willing and loving partner to your husband in bed. This also includes dressing modestly and absolutely no flirting with other men, as well as no bad mouthing your husband in conversation with other women.

 Our need to "belong" is also Spiritual. Knowing that we belong to the Lord Jesus takes a lot of the anxiety and stress out of life. If we have committed our life to the Lord Jesus and have repented of our sin and invited Him as Savior, we can be sure that the eye of the Lord is upon us, loving and caring for us in all of our life circumstances. Nothing can separate us from our Lord. And we have the assurance of eternal life in Heaven when our days are done here on this earth. 

The assurance of belonging to the Lord is of even greater importance than any human friendship or relationship. Belonging to Jesus puts a new joy in our heart that none other can give. The Lord wants to be in relationship with us. He longs for us to be in constant communication with Him. 

1 Peter 3:1-10  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

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