Where Do I Fit In?

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S (Scripture): Psalms 107

17 

Some of the redeemed were fools because of their sinful ways.

    They suffered because of their wickedness.

18 

They had absolutely no appetite for food;

    they had arrived at death’s gates.

19 

So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,

    and God saved them from their desperate circumstances.

20 

God gave the order and healed them;

    he rescued them from their pit.

21 

Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love

    and his wondrous works for all people.

22 

Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices

    and declare what God has done in songs of joy!

O (Observation): The Israelites have suffered – at times – not because of what God did to them, but because they failed to live in wholeness within themselves, towards their neighbors, and with God. These failures bring about a situation in which people become desperate and lose hope.

Yet, in God, the people re-discover a hope that endures. God heals. God helps them to re-discover their purpose in this world. That mission then drives them onward and to pass on the faith from generation to generation.

A (Application): We all want to know answers to these questions (which I most recently re-discovered via Fuller Youth Institute’s research-based book: Growing Young).

  • Who am I?
  • Where do I fit in?
  • Why am I here?

These are questions of Identity, Belonging, and Purpose. Today’s psalm helps us to explore these questions a bit.

Who am I? A redeemed sinner.

Where do I fit in? Amongst people who give thanks.

What is my purpose? To declare the Good Work that God has done.

Explore these questions today.

P (Prayer): Lord, help me to see You in my day. Amen.

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Playing Politics

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S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose. 11 My brothers and sisters, Chloe’s people gave me some information about you, that you’re fighting with each other. 12 What I mean is this: that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” “I belong to Apollos,” “I belong to Cephas,” “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized in Paul’s name? 14 Thank God that I didn’t baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that nobody can say that you were baptized in my name! 16 Oh, I baptized the house of Stephanas too. Otherwise, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else. 17 Christ didn’t send me to baptize but to preach the good news. And Christ didn’t send me to preach the good news with clever words so that Christ’s cross won’t be emptied of its meaning.

O (Observation): Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians) is all about how to help the different factions of the followers of Christ to get along and to be of the “same mind and same purpose.”

They tend to identify with the one who baptized each of them: Apollos, Paul, Cephas, etc.”. Yet the one doing the baptizing is NOT the focus. Paul reminds them of this. Paul reminds them that in Christ we are baptized. And that is enough. No one else need be identified in baptism.

A (Application): Everything is political. I’m not just talking about parties or independents… I’m talking about “lowercase ‘p’ politics.”

We all struggle with three main desires: Identity (Who am I?), Belonging (Where do I fit in?), and Purpose (Why do I matter?).

Unfortunately, we want to “play politics” and to shape these desires by pointing people to ourselves. We want to define who people are (by what they don’t have). We want to define where they belong (by telling them you don’t want to be “one of those”). We want to define someone’s purpose (by what they can do for “me”).

This is exactly backwards. And Paul knows it.

Paul wants them all to be identified as being “in Christ”.

Who am I? You are God’s child.

Where do I belong? You belong to God, in the body of Christ.

Why do I matter? God will do great things through you, just like Jesus taught the apostles.

Do you believe this?

P (Prayer): Gracious God, define our identity, belonging, and purpose. Thank you. Amen.