Day 10 | Unity Is Not An Optional Strategy

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21

Being hungry for the church is the natural outcome of being hungry for God. Pray to be hungry for the church.  

In this scripture, Jesus was a few short hours from his arrest and crucifixion and he alone knew it. His chief concerns were at the surface, expressed in this prayer that John, an eyewitness, recorded in his gospel. Jesus’ top consideration was for his disciples and the church that would be birthed out of the decisions and actions they would be making. These fumbling followers had to accurately communicate the story they had witnessed.  Jesus was fully aware that the authentic message would be more about what his disciples would do than it would be about what they would say. It wasn’t just information he’s transferring to them, he was giving them a new life, a new mind, and a new heart. That’s what the world needed to see. Jesus knew, he still knows, that the most convincing argument for his undertaking would be found in the unified heart and mission of his followers and how they would treat one another and the world.

The church is a bizarre animal. Up to that time, the world had never seen anything like it nor would the future improve on what God had in mind when the church was born. The church was to become the foremost, on-the-spot, most visible demonstration of God’s sacrificial love for the world. In joining to Jesus, who was already joined to the Father, the church would find itself connected to both, and inextricably mixed up with all the others who had found their answers in Jesus. They were not to be a loose affiliation, joined by common causes, social interests, or political agendas. They were to be a conglomerate of dissimilar knot heads, divergent in histories, genders, social status, economic backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, giftings, and brokenness, but all united by God’s love. What would get the world’s attention was the fact that even though we were so different, we could still love one another enough to live in unity under the common rule of King Jesus.  

The simple fact that God could put this many human contradictions in one place, at one time, and expect success stretches credulity to the breaking point, but that is exactly what Jesus was praying for. This was His plan, and he was going to provide the mechanism to accomplish it; love administered by the Holy Spirit.  

Unity is not an optional strategy for Christians – it is the will of God. We cannot be in the will of God and be engaging in alienating and hostile conflict with our brothers and sisters. If we are at odds, then we have very possibly gathered around the wrong flagpole and missed God’s true intention. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” Jesus told his followers, “and all these things will be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33). In the church, unity created by love, is the richest expression of the kingdom of God.  

Being hungry for God to the point that we will pursue him with all we’ve got, means that we will quickly slam into the Body of Christ, created and dearly loved by him. We cannot excuse ourselves from the things that God has entangled himself with and dedicated himself to. We will have to be where he is, or life in Christ will never work. God’s people are the agents, sent into this moment with all its confusion and darkness, called to love him, to love one another, to love the world, and even to love our enemies. As awkward as it seems, that is Jesus’ strategy. In the unity of that love, the world can observe its most credible evidence for the goodness of God. At least that’s what Jesus prayed would happen. So, pray with him, pray to be hungry for the church.  

Pastor Tom Chism

We look forward to seeing you tonight at the Prayer + Fasting Night at 6:00pm! Please ensure you’re RSVPed here.
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