- May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:23
The above verse along with many of the others in John 17 are some of my favourites, they speak my heart for the church the body of Christ.
So what does unity mean...I looked up the full definition in the dictionary and here's what it says:
- the quality or state of not being multiple - ONENESS
- a condition of harmony - ACCORD
- the quality or state of being one - UNIFICATION
- a totality of related parts: an entity that is a complex or systematic whole
This above definition is what our LORD calls the church to be, a body united in Him the head. We are called the body of Christ and each of us in Christ is a part of it. And so if we are a part of the body then we must learn to work together...to have ONENESS...ACCORD...UNIFICATION.
In 1 Corinthians 12 there is a whole passage devoted to explaining what it means to be a body...one body but many parts.
Each one of us has a place in the body, just as in our own physical bodies, each limb, each organ, etc. has a specific task. So it is with the body of Christ. In Christ we are the body and one part cannot say to another because I am a foot and not a hand I don't belong or the eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!"
If I were to cut off my hand my whole body would suffer. This body of mine is meant to function as a whole. Sure it doesn't always work right and I complain about some parts because I feel they lack but it's still my body, the body God has given me and I need to look after it, each part of it.
It's no different with the body of Christ don't think that our actions don't affect the body as a whole whether they be positive or negative. Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 12 that if one part suffers, every part suffers with it and if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
Wow could you imagine that in the body of Christ...every part rejoicing when one part is honoured. How often is it the opposite. We see one part honoured and our jealousy is aroused. I'll be honest it happens to me at times and I hate it. When will this heart of mine realize and understand verse 18 of 1 Corinthians, But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. He has decided my place and your place in the body. Will I choose to live in that place or will I always be looking over my shoulder thinking someone else has a better place.
If the body of Christ is to function properly and be in complete unity then we must live fully in the place/part God has called us to. And yes every part of this sinful, broken body of Christ will stumble, will fail another, will disappoint another, will hurt another, will neglect to do our part but the fact still remains that each of us in Christ is a part of the body...we can't get away from it. No more than I can cut off my leg, oh I could but I will suffer. And if we're really honest with ourselves we'll realize that as the body of Christ we have in our lives done much cutting of parts and this Christ body has suffered and our Father has grieved over this body.
He knows our...
lack of ability
He knows everything about us, that is and will be and yet He still calls us to unity.
Do I/we understand what this unity mean. It's Jesus' last night with His disciples, He's just washed their feet, the feet of the very ones who would betray, deny and fail Him...He knew it and yet He still washed their feet. Do we understand the depth of that action and what is required of us if we are in Christ. It means I die to self, I am not a part unto myself. I am part of the body...the body of Christ.
The world watches this body.
Jesus' very words the night before He was crucified are that we would be one as He and the Father are one that the world may BELIEVE that God the Father sent the Son.
In those words I hear love, desire and responsibility. I am responsible before God in how I live as part of the body...it's through the unity of this very body that the world will believe and God forgive me if ever I do anything to cause disunity in this body and have it become a poor witness to a watching world.
This life I live isn't about me...it's much grander than just my life. My life is no longer my own, I have been bought with a price. And if Jesus Christ, the long awaited for Messiah gave everything for me a sinner then it is Him I serve and not me and it is my responsibility to understand and live out what it means to serve Him and live in unity.
He washed the feet of the very one who would hand Him over to be crucified. I sit here trying to imagine that. Loving and serving the very one who would hand Him over, holding his dirty feet in His hands, gently washing them. And in that I see Him holding my sinful heart and washing it clean.
It was GRACE and how dare I not live out that grace in my life towards others each day.
If He could do that then surely I can live in unity with this body, for Christ is now in me, He has cleansed this heart of mine.
Things to be thankful for...
1778. Dinner at dad and mom's made by Kayla
1780. Good nights sleep
1781. Will & Amy enjoying some time in the country house sitting
1782. Cousins hanging out
1783. "The God of angel armies always by my side"
1784. My church
1785. Charissa helping out at the Thrift Store with me
1786. God in control
1787. Homemade broccoli cheddar soup
1788. Bible study with friends
1789. Visit with my sister's family
1790. Visit to Sarah's to see the new puppy
1791. Beautiful early morning frost on the boardwalk
1792. Morning walk with a friend
1793. Jenna, Sarah and Kayla over
1794. The sacrifices people make
1795. A new day
1796. A good morning in the Toddlers room at church
1797. Card game
1798. Frink Centre walk in the snow
1799. Gently falling snow
1800. Charissa home safe
1801. Cats playing
1802. My husband
1803. Visit with Lily
1804. Videoing an interview with Matthew
1805. Stories told, God at work
1806. Beautiful bird songs this morning while doing chores