Peace Family, what can you do today to help heal the need for unity within the Church?
I’ve been reading through John, and this morning, I was really struck by Jesus’ prayer for the believers in chapter 17, just before he is arrested and betrayed. He prays not only for his disciples, but also specifically for future believers, including us (see verse 20.) He prays, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Jesus is praying for believers to be unified with one another, and also with God, because of the testimony such unity gives to the world around us!
Unfortunately, most of us have personally observed divisions among believers, whether we were personally part of the divisions or not. There are also believers who have lost unity with God, whether through blatant sin such as sexual immorality, devalue of human life, and deceitfulness, or through the idolatry of good things, such as service, self-reliance, or marriage and family (remember, anything we love more than God is an idol, even if the item isn’t immoral.)
The good thing about all this, is that the fact that disunity is so prevalent means that pretty much all of us have opportunities to help bring unity and healing within the church. All of us can pray for the unity of the church around the world. All of us can reach out in kindness across denominations and encourage one another. All of us can work together to provide for the persecuted churches on the other side of the world, to reach out to our communities, and to ease the needs and suffering of non-believers around us. All of us can study the Bible, know what it says, obey what it says, and provide that truth to others without watering it down. All of us can forgive or extend forgiveness to those within the church with whom we personally have a problem.
There will certainly be challenges with some of the disagreements about doctrine, but if we are really listening to God, studying his Bible, and letting the Holy Spirit lead us, then God can do all kinds of miraculous things, even unify the Church.
Peace family, what small steps can you take today? Increasing our obedience towards God, and our love for others, will always be worth it. Don’t give up!