“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” John 17:20-21
In John 17:20-21 Jesus prays for unity. He prays that we might be one as He and the Father are one. It’s one of the great prayers in the Bible.
It’s also one of the things that believers live less than they preach. For unity doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t just drop out of the sky. It has to be developed. Divine and human causes have to bring it into being. With Christ as our model and means we have to learn how to be united (cf. Philippians 2:1-7).
It’s not an easy thing to learn. Unity doesn’t come without a fight. Satan doesn’t want God’s people to be united. His plan is to have believers at loggerheads with each other. He does everything in his power to upset the apple cart. The demons’ standing orders are to sow seeds of discord and division. The powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil are working hard to stir up conflict. For Satan knows that if he can divide us he will handicap both our message and our mission.
This was brought home to me recently when I checked on the internet to see how other pastors have preached on the subject of unity. To my surprise I discovered two web sites sponsored by the Satanic Church. Both sites had messages titled, Against Unity. Little wonder. After all, when Jesus knew the end was near his final prayer wasn’t for his followers to have success, safety or happiness. He prayed for their unity. And ever since Jesus prayed for unity Satan has gone out of his way to oppose it.
That’s why we need to know how to maintain and promote the unity we have in Christ. The following ten questions are designed to help you foster and foment unity. Don’t rush through them. After considering each question, it may be a good idea to pause for prayer:
- Am I single-mindedly focused on Christ and His calling in my life?
- Am I actively, with Christ’s strength, promoting peace in my home, my church, and my community?
- Am I making and maintaining meaningful long term friendships or do I push off to another church or community whenever I encounter a rough patch in my relationship with others?
- Do I make it my practice not to speak evil of my brother and not to sow seeds of discord or dissent?
- Do I abstain from prejudice and make every attempt to erase man-made lines of division in the Church?
- Am I creating an atmosphere of unity by practicing mutual submission and forgiveness?
- Whose interests am I looking after, mine or others?
- Am I praying for unity in Christ and asking God to protect us from any disunity?
- Is it my goal to serve, rather than to be served?
- Can we agree together to allow our differences to be our strength, to have unity in essentials, and liberty in nonessentials?