John 13:35 (NKJ): By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Before Jesusí arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, he fervently prayed for himself, his disciples, and for the unity of all believers. Jesus could have prayed for anything, but he prayed for unity. Have you ever wondered why?
Maybe Jesus prayed this prayer because he understood that unity in the things of God strengthens our relationship with him and with one another. Then, as we move together in his Spirit, he accomplishes his work through us.
There are many areas of ministry, but only one purpose. If we want to know Godís purpose, we don't have to look very far--it's in Jesus' prayer: "Then the world will know that you sent me, and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17:23).
Jesus prayed for us to have the same eternal unity that he and His Father share. Therefore, since we have been given such a precious gift, it is crucial that our unity remains in the character of God. If we falter, our unity tends to shift to things of the flesh--gossip, envy, anger and discord--which eventually lead us into a mob mentality. When we focus on the Lord, it is much easier to pursue the Mind of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, please unify us with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Please bind us together with your Holy Spirit so the world will know that Jesus is Lord.
Cheryl Harrison serves as Director of Discipleship at her home church. She resides in Texas.