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31 Aug '13

Unity among believers: It is often a higher value to God than it is to us

Posted by T.J. Addington in John 17:11, unity
Jesus makes a profound statement in His high priestly prayer when he asks the Father: "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one" (Jn 17:11). Think about that! He is praying that His followers would have the same unity as the Son and Father do! Contrast that with the reality we often see of disunity, division, conflict and bad attitudes toward fellow believers.

This plea for unity is echoed by Paul in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians notably. In Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul makes this a very practical plea to the Ephesian church spelling out the character qualities that make unity possible: "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

What makes unity possible? Humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love and an effort to preserve it.

The sad thing is that God's people often do not hold the unity of God's family in the same regard as Jesus does. Evangelicals are very quick to judge one another. Very quick to jump on bandwagons against other believers who don't agree with them on some point or to make assumptions about others without getting the facts (and no, just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true). And very quick to gossip in ways that bring disunity rather than preserves unity.

The bottom line goal is given to us by Paul. "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." If we all made that effort, the prayer of Jesus in John 17 would be realized more often.