For this post, I initially set out to write on the Trinity, but was sensing the Spirit pulling me a different direction. He has a way of bringing such vitality to everything He touches… that’s what we need. I’m not sure there needs to be yet another study on the Trinity (or if I could do it justice in under 1200 words!). There is, however, great application here that shouldn’t be missed: How can God’s Oneness impact us, so we can be better led by Him?
God is three separate persons— Father, Son, Holy Spirit. We have been shown in part how they relate to each other, but I’m sure the great mystery of the Trinity will be “unboxed” for us when we see the full glory of God in Heaven. What I do know is that the Trinity exemplifies the unity He desires for us: To be one with Him, and with other believers. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were unified with God. They walked together in close communion in the garden. It was never His design to have them (or us) leave that place of intimacy. But then, the introduction of sin brought with it separation. There it remained throughout the ages. Every year the same Band-Aid applied, through the gruesome work of animal sacrifice…
Until the perfect, atoning work was completed. There’d be unity again “over His dead body”.
Before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed for our unity with Him to be restored (John 17). I’m so thankful His prayer has been preserved and documented for us! In it we have been given a gem— we get to hear His will and desire for us (read the entire chapter to glean His full heart).
“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.” (John 17:20-23)
Interesting that He doesn’t ask the Father to increase our faith or wisdom. His pleading is for us to be one with Him (He repeatedly asks this here). Our Lord knows what we need first is Him, and that all these other things will follow. He has invited us into the same fellowship and oneness that He has with the Father.
This captivates my heart; and commands our attention. He doesn’t use the word “close” or “near”, He uses the word “one” and the phrase “perfectly one”. He prays for us to have an identity crisis. To start seeing Him in everything, as we take on His identity. A newness of life. That we would willingly be “hijacked” by the Renewer of our minds… to gain a Kingdom perspective. This is the change He prays for us to make/receive. When we are overtaken by Him, hope for the future is claimed, not wished for. In a world of insecurities and instabilities, He becomes our secure and sure foundation. We’ll never fully comprehend how present He wants to be in and through us. Yet it’s truth. He’s just that gracious and kind.
Similarly, He wills for the church to be one. Notice how we aren’t called the brides of Christ, we are the bride. Singular, not plural. Jesus has chosen this way. Not so we’d benefit from a neat social club, but so that we’d be more useful. Many different parts, of one mind, effectively serving one direction. We are to stir up our fellow siblings in the Lord for the harvest. This (unity) was integral to the growth of the early church. The Spirit came to them as fire when they were gathered together in the upper room; fueling the great commission (Acts 2:1-4). Fires spreading… a movement that darkness could not extinguish. Ordinary people used in extraordinary ways. All of them unified by the Head, which is Christ. Hell would have us scattered. To snuff out our light—our purpose. We tend to recoil and hide out when we get hurt. Insecurity and fear of rejection are heavily used tools in the kingdom of darkness; to keep us away from each other. This is a killer of unity. We can instead, allow God to use those upsets for His glory. Just as Jesus used the cross for salvation.
I wish I could shout it out: NO MORE ISOLATION FOR BELIEVERS!
I want to speak, for a moment, to the person who thinks they have nothing of value to offer (truthfully, hasn’t this been all of us at one time or another?). He’s looking to break down our walls of isolation and loneliness. Once for all, He’s done away with separation. You have a value that was great enough to die for. There is value when you testify of the Lord’s working in your life. He gets the glory when we worship… that is valuable. We need to pray when we feel of little worth. He will answer us in truth: that He can take terribly unqualified people and use us to change the world, for His glory. We can take that truth and wear it, like a garment, bringing it with us wherever we go. He gives of His power so we’ll go unconflicted, confident in the role He’s calling us to. He WILL restore you to be useful. He is a Master at redoing and completing things undone. At first glance, this idea of being one with God sounded like total heresy to me. Now I see just how far He goes to share Himself with us. He’s shared with us His death, His resurrected life, His joy, His Heaven, and now this. He’s not the one in the relationship holding anything back.
Why then would we?
Lord of the Harvest, I pray we would let You gather us together, so that witnesses would be effective and joy would be full. That your Spirit would break down any walls that are hedging us in and keeping You, or others, out. Even reveal the walls we aren’t yet aware of.
I ask that our self-sufficiency would burn to the ground. That Your Spirit would rebuild; completing Your work of perfect oneness in us. Making everything new… even and especially for the Christian who has been serving and loving You for years. That as we fix our gaze on You, All–Consuming Fire, we couldn’t help but catch fire ourselves. We’re so thankful You have bought and brought us back into unity. That you call us deeper, and deeper still. I pray souls would respond so much “louder” than before, realizing that God—who carved them from the ground—desires oneness with them. Have Your way in us!
One With Him
[A response to John 17]
Why do You seek unity with me?
You know I am but dust.
Yet, You make it so personal for me.
You don’t compare me to any other.
Blotted out my crimson shame.
Raised this death to leaping praise.
Paid full price for something ruined;
You have loved me to death.
Let nothing steal my attention;
No inadequacy, doubt or fear.
If You’re the Vine, make me Your branch.
There’s no life without You here.
I take full advantage of Your offer:
To know You and be known.
Closer than my very skin;
God who moves mighty within.
Overtake this place, come invade;
Great joy in this surrender!
Fan this flame, rewrite my name.
Make it that we’re one.
And when at last I see Your face,
You’ll be so familiar.
Jesus, You’re my home.
“One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Written by Tamra Dalbey