“And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love me,” John 17:22-23.
These two verses are worth a lifetime of study and contemplation. This was a focus of the prayer the Lord made the night before He was crucified. If we knew that we had less than twenty-four hours to live, our prayers would probably be the most focused than they have ever been on the deepest issues of our hearts. We can therefore consider the Lord’s Prayer that night to be just that — the revelation of the deepest concerns of His heart. Therefore, John 17 may be the most pure reflection of the heart of God. Obviously one of the deepest issues of His heart was the unity of His people. He has even given us His glory for this purpose — so that we will be one.
As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18, it is the glory of the Lord that changes us:
“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
One of the basic characteristics of God is unity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always in perfect unity. There is never any jealousy, contention, strife, or discord in the Trinity. The closer we have become to being changed into the image of the Lord, the more unity we will have with Him and one another. It is by beholding His glory that this will be accomplished. He gave us His glory that we might be one, and to the degree that we have beheld His glory we will have unity.
The reverse is also true. If there is discord in the church it is because we have taken our eyes off of the Lord and are no longer beholding His glory. Knowing that one of the deepest desires of the Lord’s heart is the unity of His people, how could anyone who truly loves the Savior willfully bring discord to the church that He died to save and unify? Ephesians 4:29-32 punctuates this crucial truth:
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander grieve the Holy Spirit because they destroy the unity of His people. Therefore, we should always endeavor to obey the exhortation here by not letting any unwholesome word proceed from our mouth, but only those that bring edification to His people.
As a parent there are few things that bless me more than seeing my children loving and getting along with each other. Likewise, there are few things that bring me more grief than when they begin to fight or get angry with each other. Remember, the unity of His people is one of the deepest issues of God’s heart. If we love Him should we not utterly devote ourselves to that which is so obviously important to Him?
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|