Three times in John 17, Jesus prayed that we, as believers, would be one, with the same intimate unity that He enjoys with His Heavenly Father. What is our scorecard as a nation, a culture, a community and even as individuals in cultivating the unity that our LORD prayed for?
Right now, contemporary media is working overtime to ensure that we choose a side and offer an opinion, whether related to politics, COVID-19, or any number of other issues. These days, it is assumed that winning the argument can only result from hurling insults, spewing negativity about the opposition, and/or putting a “spin” on truth. We feel compelled to take a side and draw swords, fearful that if we do not, something bad might happen. That mindset ignores the sovereign power of God to accomplish His best plans and purposes.
Do we believe that Father God will answer Jesus’ prayer for our unity? Is an answer to that prayer even possible or practical at this point? How will the cavernous gaps between humans ever be bridged? The initial step to co-laboring with Jesus’ desire for oneness is to share that desire with Him! Do we want unity enough to pursue it and believe Him for it, or is it just easier to hate and to disagree?
Perhaps a key point to remember is that people who are acting contrary to God’s ways have been taken captive by the enemy to do his bidding. (See 2 Timothy 2:15-26.) That breaks God’s heart and it should break ours, too.
Jesus desires that not one human being will be lost for eternity (2 Peter 3:9). And yet as Christians, perhaps without realizing it, we are using the power of our words to speak in agreement with satan about other people! Revelation 12:10 tells us that the accuser is before the Throne of God accusing our brothers and sisters day and night—nonstop, perpetual accusation. Every time we use our words to declare negativity over another human made in God’s image and whom He loves wildly, we are standing
in agreement with the accuser, condemning them with our judgements.
The unity that Jesus prayed for most certainly did not mean that we all just turn a blind eye to what He considers sin for the sake of getting along. But what He did command was that we love our enemies and pray for those who oppose us (Matthew 5:44). Because God is love (1 John 4:8), love is the most powerful force in the universe, not just a “feeling.” So how do we unleash the power of His love in order to co-labor in His unity-building desire for our one-ness?
The key is to guard our agreement. It is vital that we know God, know His will, and agree with Him in that. If we’re willing, He can show us what His best plan is for individuals and groups that are not yet redeemed. He can move our hearts to compassion for people who have been taken captive by the enemy to do his bidding instead of the LORD’s. We can pray fervently for the power of God’s love, His hesed, to overtake them and woo them into the Kingdom! We can pray and ask God to forgive them and to give them the same gift of repentance that He gave us!
Let’s stop using our words to predict negative outcomes about people and situations—expecting the worst and patting ourselves on the back when bad things happen just like we said they would. Instead, let’s speak, pray, and believe that the power of God’s love in Christ to redeem all things is infinitely more potent than the hatred and division that abounds. Let’s use our words to bless and to speak life, not to tear down and destroy (Proverbs 18:21).
Know that the speed of light—His light—can permanently overtake any and all forms of darkness. Given that light is the fastest speed in the universe, let’s be His light, seeking His love and compassion for every person made in His image. Then let’s release that love and light through the power of our agreement via our words.
At the end of it all, what matters is that God already owns the greatest victory of all time – the defeat of evil and darkness! Let’s purpose to line up on His team, cheering on those who don’t yet know and love Him so that they, too, stand a fighting chance of living in the light of their personal, eternal victory.
But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light, and their way shines brighter and brighter until they bring forth the perfect day! (Proverbs 4:18)