Being Intentional at Being One
One thing I know for sure: there is an enemy who hates the unity of the body of Christ. This reality would become a struggle in the Church Age and Jesus knew it, so in His final hours of ministry in the earth, He actually knelt in prayer and asked the Father that we would be one. The Lord prayed about only a few things the night before His crucifixion; the unity of the believers was among His petitions. (See John 17).
How do you think the body of Christ in the earth is doing in the year 2017? How well are we contending for our unity as brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus? Do you see any deception at work; meaning, are we taking the bait and battling against ourselves instead of against rulers, authorities, powers of darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?
Let’s look at unity on a smaller scale- the marriage covenant. Once a couple marries, the real work of fighting for a state of oneness begins. The enemy hates marriage and its depiction of God’s covenant love for us. Are you aware of who is baiting you to fight with your spouse? The enemy assigns forces who feast on your weaknesses, and before you realize what hit you, you partner with his devices to destroy the marital unity.
No one expects that just because you have a legal document declaring marriage that no work remains in order to protect marital unity. In the same way, the blood of Jesus is a legal covenant declaring there “no difference between Jew and Gentile- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'” (Romans 10:12-13); yet, we do not assume that because the blood affords us unity with Christ and one another that no work remains to contend for that unity. Those of us in marriage understand the fight to remain as one in covenant love, and all of us in the body of Christ must awaken to the same fight.
I am grieved every time I hear “our side” or “their side.” How effective the enemy has been in deceiving. Our nation is sliding backwards, and we are willing to point fingers in blame of any public figure while ignoring how desperately wicked our own hearts can be under the influence of Satan’s temptation to sin. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not perpetuate the division, because we know the only true us vs. them that ever existed was the Holy Trinity dealing with sinful humanity. Jesus came and died once for all. ALL HUMANITY is deserving of death as a result of our inherent sinful state, but we can be declared holy by faith in His blood- the only blood powerful enough to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. That is the good news: Jesus bridged the great divide, and now all who were once among the sinful them, now by faith experience unity with the Holy Us: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, for God embraces the sinner born again by the Spirit.
I write about the enemy’s division because I have witnessed it in a very personal way. I love the body of Christ- it is so beautiful. Everything God creates is beautiful, but this creation was costly; God gave His one and only Son for us to become the family of God. Do we disagree on matters with our natural families and with our eternal, spiritual family? Of course, and God has given us wisdom concerning how to work through issues that arise when we cannot find agreement. But when we see a bitter competition take center stage, we can be sure we have missed the mark. I will not stand by and watch an us vs. them like it’s some entertaining reality show without speaking out in prayer to the Father and to any who will listen. It simply grieves the heart of God, and it still hits me with disbelief when I recall a deceived brother in the Lord stopping me in the grocery store one day to ask me whose side was I on? Whose side???? It’s not the first time I have heard that question while in conversation about the body of believers, and it may not be the last. But my answer remains the same:
There are no sides. We are one body.
I always think about the end times indicator of love gone cold that Jesus said would be prevalent in the earth. Whose love will grow cold? The world’s, meaning those who refused salvation? Or is it the church’s love? Seems ironic, right? How can you be a believer yet cold? Jesus said it would happen as a result of “… the increase of wickedness…” (Matthew 24:12). Is there a coming day when the Church no longer pushes back against darkness? Will the watchmen on the wall abandon post because of persecution? In that day we would see the rise of wickedness as a result.
Body of Christ, we are better together. We were purchased and made one by precious blood- we must never forget it. I know my mind is made up to not take the bait of us vs. them, but I cannot do it in my own strength, and neither can you. Will you pray as I am praying and ask the Father to search your heart? Will you pray for our unity as the body? Will you pray about the resolve to stand boldly for righteousness that brings glory to God? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to direct us in doing one thing each day that promotes our unity as believers.