Unity in the Faith
We come from all branches of service, Army, Air force, Navy, Marines and Coast guard. We have different traditions and purposes in the military, like our annual football games where we scream “Go Army, Beat Navy” games where we bravely talk trash to one another to show off the pride that we have in our branch of service. However, when it is all said and done our one goal is to protect and defend our nation’s freedom. We stand tall together! There is a brotherhood.! We internally share a love for our country, the mutual passion that brings us all together.
We proudly raise our flag during ceremonies, holidays and even outside our homes. We display our nation’s standard and our branch insignias on our clothes and jewelry because we are proud of the military and country that we love. A love that we have, yes..even unto to death, if necessary. But what about our unity in the faith? Should we have that same passion? Jesus had that passion for unity and brotherhood. That passion lead Him to the cross…for all of us.
We have so many different backgrounds and beliefs within Christianity. How do we begin to come together as one? I believe sincere prayer is how we began.
I am participating in a weekly bible study that is currently studying the Gospel of John. I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to discuss one of my favorite chapters, John 17. Prior to His crucifixion Jesus prepared His disciples for His death and tried to instill hope in them during an intimate meeting that we now call the Last Supper.
Afterwards, He stopped and prayed to the Father on behalf of those who believed in Him (and those who would believe in Him). That prayer continues to resound for us today. Let’s look closely at this verse that always stood out to me. I call it the Lord’s Prayer.
“…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
(John 17: 21, NASB)
Even as His death drew near, Jesus still desired for His disciples to be one. He knew the importance of oneness, because He experienced it with His Father in heaven. By Jesus being one with the father, He also brought glory to the Father, so that everyone would know that the Father had sent Him to do His work . I always wonder if we are truly trying to live up to that prayer. Are we one even as Jesus and the Father are One? Do we realize that the work was finished at the cross but the legacy still has to be fulfilled here in the earth? We all come short of this. I know I have been guilty of this many times myself. Still praying.
How different would things be if we kept Christ and His love at the core of all our interactions with one another. What would the world be like if it could see God in His fullness and power through our love for one another?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NASB)
Love transcend the “ism’s” amid the “schisms.” His Word and love erases the stumbling blocks of race, sex, class, denomination, and doctrines. We are called to love each other and we are to desire to see the fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer on earth. We are to have the perspective of the King. We have way more in common than we have differences. We must strive to foster those things that bring us together rather than encourage those things that divide us.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
(Galatians 3: 26-28, NASB)
But we must also realize that we have an enemy. An enemy that comes to kill, steal and destroy.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, NASB)
An enemy that points out our differences and causes us to focus more on things that divide.
We must identify our true enemy and pray for God’s perfect will concerning us being unified through Him and look to Him to bring about this unity.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB)
The glue that holds us together in the faith is Christ…Christ alone.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6, NASB)
I ask you to join with me on today to pray for the unity amongst the Believers, that we will be the example to the world. That we will pray for God’s will to be done in us and through us in such perilous times. That we will bring glory to God as His people, lovingly united. We not only defend the freedoms of this nation, but we are a part of a great commission. We are called to be a light in the midst of the darkness and show the way to Christ. He shines brightly through us all when we love one another.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
(Colossians 3:12-17, NASB)