Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Can We Be One?

In John 17 Jesus is praying that we would be one with him and with each other.  He prays that he would be in us and that God the Father would be in him so that those who are joined to him may be "completely one."

Jesus prays this.  He does not command us to be one.  I think that's because we can't do it on our own.  It's too hard.

Unity is God's work, nor ours. To attain it, the best thing we can do is to follow Jesus' example and pray.

One of the ways that the John 17 prayer of Jesus is answered is as we understand "Spiritual Warfare." We are studying this in some detail this week, but the basic understanding of conflict as "spiritual" instead of personal is very helpful.  Knowing about Spiritual Warfare, we see that our conflicts are never against other people.

Christians know they have been rescued from their own sin by God's grace.  Because of that, we look at all people as equally beloved of God, precious treasures of God for whom Jesus gave his life and blood.  God's Word teaches us that there is a battle to be fought, but it is not with other people.  Instead, our battle is "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil..." (Ephesians 6:12).

If we're honest, we see those forces of evil in our own lives even more than in the lives of others.  After all, we know ourselves best!  How then can we reject one another and go off into our own little camps? How can we hate one another and be angry with one another when we recognize how precious others are in the sight of God? There are times when temporary separations are needed for protection and repentance, but we never do that with anger. We may feel sorrow or pain, but we recognize the others as no more and no less in need of God's grace than anyone else, including me.  The goal is always renewed unity in the grace and peace of God.

So what do we do with anger against injustice and cruelty?  How do we stand up against what we believe is evil?  The scriptures counsel us to put on the "full armor of God" to do spiritual battle against evil, whether it's found in ourselves or in others.  The "armor" consists of truth, righteousness/justice, the good news of peace, faith, salvation/freedom, and the only offensive weapon, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17).  Then, the Bible says, we pray.

The way to unity is through praying and taking on God's armor against spiritual enemies.  When we realize that, and when we accept that, we can stand beside others as brothers and sisters and fight no more.


  1. Isaiah 59:20

    20 "The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,"
    declares the LORD.

  2. Today's blog entry was great! I loved it and thanks for sharing it. Have a great day.

    In Christ,