“Love leads us to forgive…embrace and celebrate differences, knowing an elevated level of humility levels the relational playing field.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 2, 2022
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23, NKJV
Our diversity as followers of Jesus is our strength of unity in Jesus. Jesus, prior to His death, boldly prayed for those who would believe to be one as He and His Father are one. So, the world would take notice that Jesus was sent from God for them to believe in Christ, the Son of God. He went on to pray that love would capture those looking for love…an authentic love Jesus and His Father modeled. Jesus loved His Father so much that He would only do what the Father told Him to do. He obeyed and followed His Father’s lead because He trusted His perfect love. So now Jesus is giving the gift of His glory that the Father had given to Him. The gift of glory. What? How? What the Father wanted for His son, Jesus…is also what He wants for Jesus’ followers, glory! It gets better. The Father glorified His Son when the Spirit, like a dove, descended on Jesus at His baptism. In like manner, believers in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit to bring glory to Jesus.
The love of Jesus brings into oneness all who love Him. This is the nature of love. Not division from you having to become like me or the resentment I feel having to become like you. No, it’s the freedom of all of us who know Jesus…deeply desiring to become more like Him. You glorify God by being whom He made you…so be the best version of yourself and you will glorify God by pointing others to Jesus. Beautifully, whatever background a person has experienced brings a uniqueness and freshness that can influence someone who is different to walk closer to the Lord. Love unifies us, as, by the power of the Spirit, we are being transformed from glory to glory.
“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 by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Henri Nouwen brings insight into the process of being unified by being in communion with the love of God, “When your deepest self is connected with the deepest self of another, that person’s absence may be painful, but it will lead you to a profound communion with the person because loving each other is loving in God. When the place where God dwells in you is intimately connected with the place where God dwells in the other, the absence of the other person is not destructive. On the contrary, it will challenge you to enter more deeply into communion with God, the source of all unity and community among people.” Stay in communion with God’s love and you will stay connected with others who love God. A heart captured by Christ’s love unites!
Christ’s unifying love moves us beyond mean-spirited politics, doctrinal parsing, and relational squabbles. Love leads us to forgive…embrace and celebrate differences, knowing an elevated level of humility levels the relational playing field. Like a team of diverse athletes, all admire each other’s gifts and skills…we work together as the Body of Christ to bring glory to Christ! We become an answer to Jesus’ farewell prayer to His Father when we glorify Him by loving each other, working together and helping a lost world take notice of a better way. One in Christ…love unites!
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
Heavenly Father, grow your gift of glory and love for me to be one with you and one with those different from me, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who is different from me, whom I will have a plan to get to know and love?
Hope Darst feat. David Leonard: Give You the Glory
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