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The Circle of Belonging
A simple way to explain the good news of Jesus

At first, all creation was in the circle of belonging.

God made the world. God made you to love him and be loved by him. We were made to have God at our center and through God to know who we are. With God in the center, we were in right relationship with ourselves and everything else

Genesis 1:1, Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:29-31

We loved other things more than God, resulting in spiritual death.

Unfortunately, we choose to substitute something else for God at the center of our lives. Maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe a family or cultural background. Maybe achievement or performance. Maybe a role we play. Substituting something else for God at the center of our lives is what the Bible calls sin and we all sin. We try to run our own lives, we try to create our own identity. We wrap our identity up in these other things, but they canít deliver and they will always disappoint us. Our lives become more fragmented, more painful, more scattered, and at the center of our lives, where God should be, we experience an emptiness.

As we reject God in favor of other things, we hurt ourselves, others and God. God hates our choice to replace him with other things. Without God in the center, our identity, our view of ourselves and our relationships with others are all distorted. We often feel ashamed of who we are. We end up alone and disconnected. The lack of God at the center of our lives results in spiritual death. If we never turn toward God, that aloneness and emptiness and spiritual death lasts forever.

Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1-2

Jesus died for us, taking on the death we deserve.

Fortunately, God didn't leave us alone and spiritually dead. God loves us passionately, and wants to restore himself as the center. So God came to us as a human being, Jesus. He was God. He created love and acceptance and belonging wherever he went because God was his center. He showed people who they really were and he showed people how to live with all those other things connected to the right center. And then, even though God was his center, he died for us who have chosen not to make God our center. He was killed on the cross, taking on all the consequences of our choice to run our own lives and to live with other things at the center. At the cross, he took on himself the death we deserve.

Mark 15:34, John 3:16, Romans 5:8

Jesus offers us a way back into the circle of belonging.

What's more, Jesus didn'tít just die. He also rose again and he is alive today. The evidence that Jesus rose from death is astonishing! He is alive! So he can live in us, at our center, restoring God to his place in our lives. He will forgive us for the pain weíve caused and change us from the inside out. And he can give us the sense of belonging and identity we seek and restore right relationships with others and the rest of creation. Through Jesus, God can be back in the center of our lives.

How does this happen?

  • We ADMIT other centers and turn from them toward God.
  • We ACCEPT Jesus?death for the death we deserve and the hurt we have caused.

  • We ASK Jesus to come into the center of our lives and COMMIT to Jesus as our forgiver, healer and leader. Through Jesus, our real identity is reestablished in relationship with God.

John 1:12-13, Romans 12:9, Romans 6:23, 1Timothy 1:16

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
John 14:5


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?2001 by Dean Wang.
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