“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” – John 17:21 (NLT)
The book of John in its entirety is an incredible chronicle of the life of Jesus Christ. Unlike the other three Gospels, John’s writing fixes our focus on the testament of the actions of Jesus. For the purposes of this blog, I would like to draw your attention to one of the deeply intriguing (well for me it is) chapters of this book titled The Prayer of Jesus (John 17). Although, I know the life of Jesus was characterised by prayer, there has always been something that captures my heart about this specific prayer He made. That is when Jesus could have prayed about literally anything at this point, especially this lost world, He intentionally chose to intercede for a matter He dearly treasured in His heart; which was a SPIRITUAL ONENESS among His chosen people.
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.” – John 17:9
At first glance, Jesus appears to display a lack of concern for the people OF the world at the verge of His death. Until you realise,
His own children were His greatest concern for He knew through the oneness of His people, the world would be taken care of.
Where is this wisdom in the body of Christ today? We are way too busy laboring for quantity in our church buildings, we have neglected the qualities the body needs to actually draw souls to Christ. One of these top qualities we are lacking today is UNITY.
Let us have a brief look at the unity in the trinity. Scriptures teach us, there is only ONE GOD and He is a Spirit (Nehemiah 9:6 & John 4:24). We know God exists as three distinct persons as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 1:2, Titus 2:13 & Acts 5:3-4). The secret in the perfect unity between the three persons of God is clearly in the Spirit. They are one in Spirit. They have one goal and they effectively operate in unity to accomplish their ultimate goal which is to bring salvation to all the nations. This is the kind of unity Christ prayed to find in us (His body). The type of unity which in itself will minister and mirror to the world the Lordship of Christ in the universe.
We surely do possess the reputation of being ONE BODY on the outside but we are spiritually divided on the inside.
You see, not every disabled individual has lost parts of their body. However, they may be disabled because parts of their body is paralysed. Similarly, we too may appear to be one when we gather, hang out, eat and laugh together but the truth of the matter is we are divided.
We can all agree, although the reasons for our division may vary, the ultimate source of them all is our enemy. I don’t mean to cast the blame on him but he does present the poisons of division and we exercise our will to drink them. One of the core causes of our division today is the poison of PRIDE. Pride is a sin and Satan is the father of the spirit of pride as he introduced it to the world in the first place (Isaiah 14:12-15). As Christians, when we are proud, we begin to view ourselves as being better or more important than other parts of the body of Christ. We fail to accept our wrongs and weaknesses as well as resisting godly correction.
“Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” – Colossians 1:18 During my mediation on this topic, I did a research on the human body, particularly the head; to further develop my understanding of the function of the church as a body. In the core of our head is found our brain which is the control center of the body. Electrical signals from the brain travel to all parts of the body and cause every reaction that occurs.
Firstly, as the body of Christ, when we reject the instructions (signals) of Christ due to pride, God resists us. He begins to FIGHT US instead of fighting for us. At this point, although we may be in the body, we become dysfunctional and paralyzed in pride. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6 The GRACE of God is a vital gift of empowerment that enables us to do the extraordinary for the glory of God. We can’t function without grace neither can we grow spiritually. Secondly, in pride, we lose our ability to love others as Christ does. Jesus said the world will know us by our love but how can the absence of genuine LOVE among us testify the presence of God in us?! With a proud heart, we’ll NEVER take one step forward with God and our spiritual lives begin to die gradually.
Spiritual oneness doesn’t require perfection rather total submission to Jesus.
As the ultimate model of humility, sticking closer and stalking Christ is the only way we can remain in constant development of a humble heart.
To conclude, authentic unity requires absolute humility. Possessing and maintaining the oneness of the Spirit in the body requires the work of each member of the body. (Ephesians 4:3) We must each take responsibility for our actions and choice of lifestyle and be considerate of our brothers and sisters in the body while we are at it. Let us labour together for the success of the whole body. For a kingdom divided against itself will not stand! Don’t become a TEST to members of the body who are training for humility. Instead, strive to become a TESTIMONY of the beauty and abundant fruits of humility.
God Loves You, Always & Forever!3