So much rides on us church people getting along well! In John 17:21 and 23 Jesus prays this, “that they may all be one, just 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 have sent me. I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
So much is packed into those two verses! I want you to focus on the phrase in verse 23 “…loved them even as you loved me.” Insecurities and pride drive the thoughts, emotions and choices of shame-filled, guilt-ridden, fear-full and hurt human being. God so gets this! God sent Jesus to extinguish all of it. He sent Christ because He loves the world. He loves you and me. He has proven this incredible love over and over again throughout history. He blew the sky open with the love given us in Christ’s death and resurrection. The Gospel must rule our thoughts, emotions and choices.
When we aren’t basking in the love of God, we simply are unable to sustain our love for one another and the oneness Jesus prayed for. Jesus’ big ask in John 17 is that we would “stay loved” in our lives every moment of every day. When we question whether we’re loved or not we begin to go into “protect our ego” mode and all of our sinful and selfish desires are released to run our thoughts, emotions and choices. Then, disunity is what we display to the world not the oneness God sent Jesus to establish for us.
So much rides on us diligently preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Unity in the body declares God’s glory like nothing else on planet earth, according to Jesus’ prayer. Now look at verse 22 in John 17, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” God has lassoed His glory to our getting along well in His family.
Irresistible living starts at home in God’s family. If we can’t learn to live in peace with one another, then what benefit are we to our non-following neighbors? We’re getting diminishing return, people. Let’s change the tide and momentum for the Gospel by living in it as our highest goal.
So much is at stake.
There is a thing called “a more excellent way” clearly given in 1 Corinthians 13, written not to bride and grooms but to the family of God. We need to love like this or we will not accomplish our God-given mission in our community.
Below you’ll find a link to a story I think will intrigue you about the art of loving someone we view as the opposition.