Fighting for Unity
July 15, 2013 Vicki Ohlerking

Fighting for Unity

July 15 2013

By Lisa Bevere | Messenger International

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one…. The glory that you have given me I have given to them…that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

John 17:20–23 ESV, emphasis added

At the table of his last supper, Jesus was praying for us. Just as Jesus needed the lives and words of his disciples to show him to us, the time has come for us to reveal Jesus to our world.

God gave his only begotten Son completely, and Jesus gave his life to the uttermost. There was never any portion withheld. They were completely one in purpose and expression. Now Jesus’ goal is for all of us to become one in heart and mind, that the earth may see the glory of the Father and the Son, by the Spirit, in his bride.

Sadly, as I read these verses in John 17, I realized that even Jesus sometimes has to wait a long time for his prayers to be answered…because we are certainly not yet one.

We are all unique, so we can look, sound, feel, and smell different. Our expressions of worship should be varied—but we must be one. If we’re united, there’s a chance the world might yet believe, but if we’re divisive and divided, the odds are stacked against us! The current behavior of Christian cultures and communities has caused the inhabitants of the earth to question everything we stand for.

The godless world is searching for the evidence of Christ in us. What might happen if we were one heart, one voice, one purpose, one name, one kingdom, and one mandate to glorify Jesus? We would once again walk in a way that our weary earth would glimpse heaven.

I can’t tell you how many times John and I have been shocked to hear of couples who apparently never fought in their marriages but are on the verge of divorce. We’ve learned that sometimes a lack of conflict means you are not fighting for a relationship. There are times you must battle to become one.

Likewise in the Church, peace does not happen on its own. Peace is the fruit of the labor of God’s sons and daughters.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9, NLT)

Division happens without any labor or contribution on our part. Unity and peace require intentional, strategic wisdom. We have to employ heaven’s actions to counter our culture’s initiatives.

One of God’s goals is to see the bride unified, and this means sometimes we must fight to become one. Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave so that he could be one with us and we could be one with one another. I believe that we can be the answer to his prayer.

Adapted from “Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero” (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, 2013).