September 08, 2014
Before Jesus embraced the cross, He prayed for his disciples and all the believers. Interesting how, before facing the battle against sin and death, Jesus’ number one prayer point was that we may be one.
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
My prayer is not for them alike. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
– John 17:11, 20-23, NIV
Our leaders have always spoken of, taught on, and modeled unity for us – that it is not the absence of arguments but the ability to meet halfway and overlook offenses; that it is not uniformity but embracing differences within the community. And because what we most covet appears to be most elusive, the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the church in Ephesus has easily become one of our go-to verse when encouraging teams of pastors, missionaries, and volunteers – to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).”
When sitting in apostolic meetings, I can’t help but always be thankful that we value unity as a movement. And while sitting in those meetings, I have seen five virtues that kept our apostolic team united.
Amos asks the question, “How can two walk together unless they agree?” Two people can walk together because they can agree on where they’re going. In our movement, we do our best to be clear about what’s important so that people who want to walk in that direction can walk with us. Honor God, Make Disciples. Every Nation, Every Campus. 4E’s & 4I’s. These are all Clarity statements that promote unity.
Love covers over a multitude of sins. As Pastor Steve Murrell once said, “When people and movements split up, it wasn’t because of bad theology or wrong ministry philosophy. It’s a lack of love.”
Connected to Love is the ability to Forgive one another. When people can acknowledge the hurt, but choose to forgive instead of getting angry, they can walk together indefinitely.
Prideful people can’t walk for long with others because any long relationship requires humility. Humble people can walk in unity because IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM.
Any time you get to hang out with the older men and women in our ministry, you’ll notice something. They always honor each other. Of course, they’ll tease and joke one another, but it’s not from a spirit that puts each other down. They always build each other up.
Let’s replicate their example and honor someone today. Text, PM, call, or talk to someone face to face and tell them something you honor them for.