“That is mine! It belongs to me!”
Those words (or something like them) have been heard by every person who has lived if they’ve lived in community with others.
Parents cringe when they hear them.
We all say them though…even if it is merely through our attitudes and actions.
It can be seen in our homes, school and work.
It can be readily spotted on the nightly news. Someone kills or hurts someone over something that was theirs.
It even happens inwardly–in my own heart. It can come out like through a sigh when someone or something keeps me from MY plans.
Because these words precede much chaos and sorrow in our world, this phrase or words like it have a negative feel. We have been taught to share, give generously and to love one another so these words sound like sin. Most of the time it probably is.
But there is one situation in which it isn’t!
If you find yourself in this one situation, you can actually be comforted by these words.
Because they are the words that Jesus Christ has for you if you are His.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
The context of this verse is one in which Paul is calling God’s people to godliness and to glorify God in our bodies since we belong to Him. These verses have served to call me to live a godly life in this body but there is comfort in them as well.
I received that comfort this weekend at church as my pastor used the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism in our worship service. The first question of that catechism is this:
Q. 1. What is your only comfort, in life and in death?
The answer should supply sweetness to our souls…
A. That I belong–body and soul, in life and in death–not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
I don’t cringe when I read that…do you?
My spirit is saying, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
I am relieved that I have a God who says, “They are mine! They belong to me!” Whether I am dead or alive. Acting in a godly way or having a particularly bad day.
This particular catechism question and answer reminds me of a quote by Abraham Kuyper:
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!”
I’ve experienced some evil and sorrow in this life. Since you are living in this world, you have too. The past year or two have been particularly hard on me but the Lord has sustained me with His truths and presence. Even though this is true, I need to experience a time of healing. A time in which I fully embrace and grasp this truth. That my life isn’t in the hands of sinful people and it isn’t an experience of chance and random occurrences. I am His. He is sovereign.
But to receive comfort from these truths, I must learn to trust God. I must learn to live, as Paul said, “By faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Do you, like me, know these truths but so often still struggle to apply them consistently?
Each day and every moment is an opportunity to decide if we will trust Him even in the midst of anxiety, fear, grief, anger or just simple daily frustrations.
As Jerry Bridges says in Trusting God, “…just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will.”
This truth that I belong, body and soul, to Jesus Christ and that not a hair can drop from my head without it fitting His purpose for salvation, helps me. It helps me to be comforted and emboldened to live for Him one circumstance and choice at a time. I hope that it will also be a comfort to me as I one day face death.
Is this also your comfort in life and in death?