Deuteronomy 6:4-9; John 13:31-35; John 3:11-24
Gary couldn’t wait to get to church every week. His pastor’s teacher inspired him, while the friendliness of the people drew him into the life of the church. Although he was just a new believer, Gary understood the importance of gleaning everything possible from his pastor and other spiritually mature people around him. Less than a year later, however, Gary’s spiritual world fell apart. One Sunday the pastor announced his resignation, explaining that he and the church’s leaders couldn’t agree on the direction in which they wanted the church to go. Disillusioned that the men he trusted and admired as spiritual mentors couldn’t get along. Gary never again entered a church.
Sadly, factions, church splits and leadership conflicts can drive a stake into the heart of the body of Christ, the Church. The damage that results from these experiences can sometimes drive people away from both God and the church.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus spent some of His final hours on Earth praying that His remaining followers would be known for their love for each other and that their relationships would resemble the kind of unity he shared with His heavenly Father? God the Father glorified Jesus because He loved the Son. In return, Jesus made the love of the Father known to everyone. Together they enjoyed a mutually loving and self-sacrificing relationship.
Of course, only God can answer prayer. But when it comes to unity in the Church, we can take some practical steps toward being a part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer. We can start by praying for unity in our own churches and among Church leaders. We can also encourage and promote understanding when we see Christians getting caught up in disagreements. Further, we can pursue love and practice self-sacrifice in our own relationships.
When the body of Christ doesn’t work to build unity, the world sees a sick and weakly Church. But when we join together in unity, the world sees the power and glory of Jesus shining through us.
In Other Words
“The only separation the Bible knows is between believers on the one hand and unbelievers on the other. Any other kind of separation, division, disunity is of the devil. It is even and from sin.” – Desmond Tutu
How does the relationship between Jesus and His heavenly Father provide an example of unity? Jesus said that His disciples would be known by their love for each other. What steps can you take to become a more loving person? What can you do to develop a more loving heart? What immediate steps can you take to encourage unity in your church?
Join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily