Not so long ago I was deeply burdened by the division in the body of Christ. I was more focused on what we were not rather than what we are becoming. After all, He that has begun a good work in us will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in us (ref. Philippians 1:6).
Then, one day I was reading John 17 (the prayer of Jesus to the Father before he went to the cross). And the revelation leaped off the pages. The Word became alive in my spirit. Guess what? Jesus has already prayed that we be one! Having this understanding and convinced that the written Word of God is truth, my whole perspective changed. I saw beyond the present into the future. My attitude changed about the people of God. I started seeing their potential. I stopped focusing on all our issues and began resting in power of God to bring us to the place that He already destined. Without a doubt, Jesus’ prayer to the Father is already answered. It’s settled in heaven. In the fullness of time, we will be united. The process of unifying us is well on the way. Actually, it began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 in the Upper Room (Acts 2) We will become one.
Specifically, verses 20-21, “Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, that they all may be one [Us] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.”
However, what stands out most to me in Jesus’ prayer is recorded in verse 22. He says, “ I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.”
There is one specific reason for Jesus’ prayer for unity among believers. That reason is to be a witness to the world. Our unity is essential to the world believing that Jesus is the Christ—the Anointed One—sent from God to save the world from eternal damnation. Our witness to the world will validate the Father’s love for them just as He loved His Son Jesus.
In essence, we are the representatives of Christ in the Earth. We are His witnesses. NOW, carnal logic says even false witnesses are more convincing when they are united—telling lies; working for the same wrong cause.
In addition, Jesus also says to the Father, “I have given them the glory and honor which You have given Me that they may be one.” This is past tense. In essence, we already have what it takes to be one! When we accepted Jesus by faith and was born again, we received the essence of himself through the Holy Spirit to become one. This leaves us with no excuses. It’s no excuse to say I can’t work with this group or that person.
Truth is, it is the Holy Spirit that comes to unify us. When it comes to the Kingdom, our personal differences are irrelevant. I opinions don’t move God, but can move people either turning them away from God, or toward God. Therefore, we must be careful with our opinions and speak the truth of God’s Word—the bible. We must look beyond our idiosyncrasies and focus on God’s agenda. And God’s agenda is what ‘s most important— what he wants and what he’s saying and doing.
With this understanding we become one through the power of the Holy Ghost. Studying this passage released me from the burden of negativity, and caused me to refocus. I can no longer focus on the petty disagreements and conflicts among believers. I am convinced that if we are serious about our relationship with Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to control us, we will become unified.
At some point, we will agreeably disagree if necessary for the Kingdom’s sake. We will set aside their personal opinions and stand in agreement on the Word of GOD.
It is the Holy Spirit who will unify the body of believers and as we yield our will to God’s will, walk in love, be compassionate, be real and share the good news about the King and his kingdom, the world will take notice and recognize the Truth about who Jesus is and desire the unconditional and satisfying love of God through faith in Jesus the Christ.