By Donna Hughey

One of the many things that are common to people across cultures is the need to belong to something. Whether its family, friends, or a group of people with the same interests as our own, belonging to something makes us feel wanted and accepted.

For the believer, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, God said it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) so he bound together man and woman, indicating God’s desire for us to be social creatures. From the beginning of creation through the present age, people need to belong — to one another, to friends and family, and to the world.

Listen to Ruth’s strong desire for belonging as she spoke with Naomi:

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV).

God is aware of our need for a place to belong and he provides for this need through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. Scripture teaches that all who accept God’s free gift of salvation are adopted into a new and permanent family — God’s family — through the Holy Spirit.

Listen to what Jesus tells Nicodemus about the role the Holy Spirit has in our adoption and salvation:

“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 NIV).

When Jesus spoke about being born of the Spirit, he was speaking about the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of adoption. The apostle Paul also teaches about our adoption into God’s family. Listen to this:

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16 NIV).

The apostle Paul is teaching that it’s the Holy Spirit who provides us with assurance of God’s promise of our acceptance into his family, and who works to convince our spirits that we are indeed God’s children.

To further illustrate our relationship as adopted children of God’s, Scripture teaches that we can address God as “Abba”— a word that denotes an intimate and affectionate relationship between a father and his child, much like the word “daddy” in today’s language.

And it doesn’t end there. God actually gives us a guarantee of our adoption and salvation — a guarantee given through the Holy Spirit (1 John 3:1; 3:24; 4:13).

Having God as our “daddy” should bring immense comfort for every believer. When the load gets too heavy, when we’re overwhelmed by the troubles of this life, when we’re grieving or close to death ourselves, being able to cry out “Abba, Father” is truly a special, special gift.

And it’s a gift made possible through the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah.

Donna Hughey is an award winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.