Unity with God and Each Other
Is the world seeing Jesus in the Church? Last night, as I read Jesus’s prayer in John 17, the Son of God touched my heart. It was as if I could see His tenderness and love poured out these moments before going to that old rugged cross. I echoed part of His prayer in my own words, “Perfect us in unity, so the world may see Jesus as the Son of God sent in love. Unify us. One in You, God, and You in us, as one.”
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
—John 17:22-23 NASB
The Secret Ingredient to Unity
Jesus said something similar in John 14. His disciples asked Him to show them the Father. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” was His response (vs. 9 NASB). He is saying, “you’ve known Me—haven’t you learned the Father’s in Me and I’m in the Father? I represent the Father.” Jesus took this further though, again saying He would be in us, and we would be in Him—and His Spirit will dwell in us.
We know this indwelling of the Holy Spirit is true even to the point of adoption. We’re no longer slaves, but sons and daughters of God—like Jesus (Romans 8:15). That alone should create unity in God, but also among each other. Because there is the same Spirit dwelling within each and every born-again believer.
The Army Unit
The army unit should act as one body. The commander has more information than the individual parts of the unit. When a soldier gets cut off from their crew, goes rogue, or communication is lost, the whole team is in danger and the mission threatens to fail.
As followers of Jesus, isn’t this also true? It’s only because our Commander is so good that we don’t fail every mission. He’s in each of us, leading and working things together for His plan of redemption.
The Family Unit
My wife and I have three kids, all five and under. We’re trying to teach them to clean up after they get something out, but they’re still learning. If we’re too busy to constantly clean up after them our apartment quickly looks like it was in the path of a tornado. When this happens and we learn someone’s going to come over, my wife and I go into a mad scramble to get the chaos in order.
Trinna and I are working as a team, but we have these little “helpers,” who like to be called “big helpers.” What are they doing? Not helping. Well one of them, our 3-year-old daughter Adeline, loves to help and she’ll pick up one toy at a time. One toy mind you, despite having two hands. This is assuming it’s not something she wants to play with.
Sometimes to encourage the troops we’ll sing the “Cleanup Song.” Our oldest daughter, Ellia, angrily sings her own version while stomping between toys. “It’s not clean-up. It’s not clean-up. Nobody, nowhere.” I know what you’re thinking right now, and I’m sorry but you’re wrong, we do discipline our kids.
Jedidiah, our son, is one year old and is helping by screaming. Mainly because he wants us to pick him up. Every time he sees us coming towards him he gets a hope inside, but then we walk past—and his hopes are dashed.
What’s the problem here? Each of us has our own agenda. We’re not unified behind the vision. And more importantly, someone’s going to find out our apartment’s not immaculate.
Unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
When unity breaks down, each member sees their own perspective as the whole picture. Christian’s face this when we don’t recognize God is in control, and we don’t work together in the Spirit.
Our Father sees the whole picture, knowing what needs to be accomplished. But how can we live “in Him?” One clue is in Romans 8 where it talks about not being led by the flesh, but being led by the Spirit. And remember Jesus said He does nothing on His own, but only what He sees His Father doing?
So, in every circumstance, we must be in constant prayer. Submitting our thoughts to God, talking with Him, listening to Him, and obeying what He says to do. Only then can we be unified in Him and reveal to the world a reflection of Jesus.