THE ABIDING LIFE
By Gwen Sellers
Spoken For. That phrase has been rolling around my head for the past few days. What does it mean to belong to another? What does it mean that I am spoken for? That I belong?
It means a sense of security. I no longer need to prove myself or vie for acceptance. I am already accepted, wanted, and known. So now I am simply free to be. Social interactions become something other than attempting to win friends or gain popularity. They become about engaging with people authentically. They are about enjoying people in the stage they are in. About getting to know their hearts. About sharing my own heart. About learning.
It strikes me that I belong completely to Christ. I never need to worry about my status with others. Life is not a competition. Neither is it a period in which to collect nods of approval. I have been approved. I have been accepted. The purpose of life is to live it. In John 10:10 Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
Jesus goes on to explain, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. […] I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:11, 14-15). In Christ, I am a sheep under the care of the Good Shepherd. I am known by Him and I know Him. I belong. I am spoken for.
A little earlier Jesus had said, "The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers" (John 10:3-5). Being spoken for not only frees me to live the life my Good Shepherd came to bring. It reminds me not to be easily swayed by imposters. Just as socially those who are "spoken for" may be tempted to resume the popularity contest, spiritually I may be tempted to follow a different shepherd. But when I remember that I belong to the Good Shepherd, and when I am intentional about listening for His voice, I will not be fooled. I can rest in the fact that I belong, that I am well cared for, and that the other voice is a mere thief seeking to kill, steal, and destroy what my Good Shepherd has laid down His life to protect.
Yes, I am spoken for. The Good Shepherd has claimed me as part of His fold. And I need only live under His care, listening for and responding to His voice. He brings life — life to the full.
Image Credit: Jesse Gillies; Joon holding lamb; Creative Commons
Tags: Christian-Life | Personal-Life | Personal-Relationships
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Published on 7-1-2014