Not that long ago, I lived in a community filled with people just like you and me, no greater, no lesser, no more of saints, no more of sinners than you and I, but about a decade ago, through tragedy, the church pastors opened their hearts and minds to this very prayer Jesus had prayed.
Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior and King, has told us, and as you, beloved, continue to read God’s written Voice, He forever continues to tell us:
“…I am praying for them, I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one… Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world… I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17: 9-11, 17-18, 20-23 & 26 ESV)
As a Christian, do you ever feel powerless, not knowing what to do, or what role you can play in bringing our culture, within our country and even the world, to a place of right-standing with our God, the Father and Lord Jesus Christ? What if I told you we don’t have to be or feel powerless? We can be on the offensive side and win.
If these were the last words Jesus cried out to the Father before they took Him away to become the sacrifice, how much more proof do we need to humble ourselves and put aside our petty difference of opinions? Can we come and work together as one body, one church, to make the true sacrifice that He made more powerful than we could ever imagine?
A former pastor from that community I lived in shared a testimony:
“The history here in our community is that when I got here only 2 or 3 (pastors) were meeting. After 9-11, we had a prayer meeting and I got deployed with the military. When I came back, there were no meetings of area pastors. One of the pastors who was most “divisive” left. Many had been praying and fasting for unity. A new pastor replaced him and his congregation made (it) clear they wanted to work toward unity. A social cause brought us together. When I got deployed in 2008, the pastors came together for a city-wide prayer meeting, and after a huge success, planned the first community Thanksgiving service. All the while, the youth pastors had been meeting together for a long time and moving toward this… Now pastors meet weekly for prayer, fellowship and encouragement. We are looking at doing joint renewal/revival services together this fall in addition to the community Thanksgiving service and also looking at a free medical clinic… On Good Friday we are also going to do a community prayer walk through the down town areas.”
Prayers were requested that these meetings may continue and Satan would not have his way to break up this unity again. The pastors said they still have a long way to go. The story does not end there.
As I had lived in that community for many years, I became familiar with the culture of the community, the way it looked, and the way it felt. It wasn’t any different from other communities until one day I moved out of that area.
In my spirit, I felt starved after leaving such a warm community, like I was going through withdrawals. One night, I got to thinking about that feeling, the lack of the presence of God, and even the lack of evidence of God in a certain area compared to another area. The memories and feeling of living in my former home pulled me back in time. At first, I experienced anemia, like a malnutrition in the spiritual atmosphere in the area I lived. The warm community in which I moved from gave me a feeling of overwhelming love with good works, much like Hebrews 10:24 describes:
” Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together… encouraging one another…”
The leaders of the churches in that area chose to humble themselves by gathering together to pray, getting to know one another, and seeking God for direction in unity and like-minded agreement towards building God’s kingdom in the city. God’s presence in that area felt so strong. Now, as I experience an outsiders perspective in my new home, I can see and feel the spiritual gap. Where is the overflowing love and compassion that I experienced in my old community where I saw the spirit move in and through the bride of Christ which shined the glory of God, making many come to believe God had sent Jesus, and loves them as He loved Jesus.
So, this story I tell you today, has taught me the leaders of the Christian churches in a community of similar faith are KEY to accomplishing what the scripture said in Hebrews 10:24–being others-minded, loving and caring for those in need with the ultimate intention to see all born again and filled with the spirit of God as one body in unity–has made all the difference in bringing God’s power and presence to my former home.
No matter what is done to and in our country on a carnal level, it will not ever withstand the power of humble and unified Christians in communities all across the country. Just as the Israelites did not have the laws of God written on their hearts and minds, before Christ made his sacrifice, to be able to truly love and worship God (Heb. 10:24), I can see how our country, or any for that matter, can not truly change and live as God desires of us without the power and presence of His spirit living and moving within our communities.
A mindset of forcing righteousness can blind us from seeing the harvest. Unity, throughout the whole body of Christ, can not happen when we are so concerned with others actions. Because when we’re concerned with forcing our righteous beliefs on others, the focus becomes the details, and not on pursuing the people with the love of Christ (Phillp 3:9, Rom 14:17, Eph 4:1-16).
Jesus gave us the perfect example of focusing on the harvest, and not on the details, and forcing righteous beliefs with the woman at the well in John 4:1-42. In verse 42, the people came to know and believe that Jesus was indeed the Savior of the world, because his focus was on pursuing the woman with his love instead of focusing on forcing his righteous beliefs on her just as Jesus made the point in his prayer in John 17 that when we unify as one body, working together to love the people in this world for the harvest, they will know that God had sent him to be the Savior of the world.
If your heart is moved then let it move you…to action.