In Disney's animated movie Toy Story, Woody (a toy cowboy) confronts Buzz Lightyear (a toy astronaut) with the fact that he is only an action figure and not really a space hero. Early in the movie Woody shouts, "You're not a space ranger! You're an action figure — a child's play thing!
Only after failing to fly does Buzz realize the truth of Woody's statement. Grief-stricken and disillusioned, Buzz hangs his head in resignation, declaring, "I'm just a stupid, little, insignificant toy."
Later, after reconciling with Buzz, Woody comforts him with the love of the boy who owns them both. "You must not be thinking clearly. Look, over in that house, there's a kid who thinks you're the greatest, and it's not because you're a space ranger; it's because you're his."
As Buzz lifts his foot, he sees a label affixed to the bottom of his little shoe. There, in black permanent ink, is the name of the little boy to whom he belongs.
The human heart yearns to belong. It’s why we join clubs, why we feel pride to cheer for our football team, and why we post pictures with our friends on social media. They make us feel like we belong to something. For the believer, the greatest sense of belonging comes from being a child of God. J.I. Packer once wrote, “Adoption is the highest privilege the Bible has to offer.” We get to know God as Father, and we get the privileges that belong to a father’s children. We get to cry out to him, “Abba, Father!” Meditate on the words of this modern worship song:
“…From my mother’s womb You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I've been born again into a family
Your blood flows through my veins
…You rescued me so I could stand and sing:
‘I am a child of God!’”
In our adoption, we are given a mission: to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1). Our responsibility as believers is now to live out practical, everyday holiness. This is what is called sanctification: the process of being made holy, like Jesus.
Thank the Father for the privilege to be called His sons and daughters.
He has chosen us to bear fruit, be on mission, and demonstrate His character before a watching world. Seek Him daily in the Scriptures, throughout our day in prayer, be vulnerable and open with fellow members of our church, and selflessly serve others.
Meditate on ways you are longing to belong in all avenues of life, from family and friends to social media and sports teams. Are you prioritizing any of those identities over your identity as a Child of God? Have any of them become idols in your life? What are you craving, wanting, enjoying, or seeking to be satisfied by more that you treasure God?