By Published On: April 7th, 2022Categories: Leader Blog, Meditation for Preparation0 Comments

No matter what culture you come from, there are things you do and say that tell a person what kind of person you may be. In some contexts, your last name tells people more about you than you would ever like them to know. In the States, it tends to be what you do for a living or what kind of car you drive that indicates your status or even personality.

But what do you choose to tell people about yourself before you say anything else? Is it that you belong to Jesus and are one with his followers?

Read John 17:20-26

“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”

Oneness matters

Before the most gruesome moment of suffering in his life, Jesus offers a prayer for Himself, then immediately prays for His disciples. Then, He prays “not only for these” disciples, but for the people who would come to know Him through His disciples.

In that prayer, He says that our oneness matters. Oneness in the body of Christ is the way Jesus says that other people will come to know Him. All the divisiveness of the world and of ideas and pursuits not grounded in Christ are not things that will lead the lost and dying to know Jesus. When we sing, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,” we are re-emphasizing that it is our care for one another that will lead others into the kingdom.

It isn’t our compelling arguments, our flashy church services, or our perfect theology, but rather our unity and love for one another that really makes a difference. Jesus asked the Father that we be “made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.” This is a way of Him saying that our oneness is a magnetic force for changing and saving lives!

Are you walking in unity with the people of God today, sister? Brother, are you abiding in Christ, trying to honor Him in all you do?

Or have you set before your eyes some other Love to pursue before your Lord, neglecting to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”? Have you cast aside the fellowship because it takes too much time to “Love your neighbor as yourself”? Abiding in Him means also abiding in the unity of the body.

Other lovers and monikers

The reason I started with the question, “What do you choose to tell people about yourself before you say anything else?” was to contrast it with Jesus’ prayer for His people. It seems like Jesus was pretty caught up in talking about how the life of another (the Father) really defined him. Then, He asked the Father to make it so we were unified and abiding in Him — for the gospel’s sake!

There are so many identifiers to cling to these days according to how the world thinks. It could be your job, your family, your spouse or kids, your hobbies, or some community based on affinity. It could be a lover. It could be a title you earned or were given.

For Jesus, it was living to glorify the Father that defined His life, and He hoped and prayed the same for us — that our lives would be defined by our unity with and love for one another because of our unity with and love for Him!

Our oneness with Him and our oneness with each other are the things He hopes will shine before the watching world.

What are you doing?

What are you doing with your life? How are you living it? Are you living in unity with Jesus’ people in a way that is attractive to the world? Are you showing hospitality to the fellowship of believers? Are you letting go of tertiary theological stances in favor of loving your sisters and brothers? Are you seeking to spur one another on toward love and good deeds?

What name have you chosen to promote or identify with by your choices, words, and overall lifestyle? Is it helping or hurting the cause of Christ?