To all the ones who feel feeble in heart,
You are not alone. “These are the times that try men’s souls.” 2021 is dark and filled with confusion. There seems to be nothing but hypocrisy in every new legislation, in every news article, and in every spin and twisting of the truth on both sides — the sides that I’ve seen the church split down the middle of.
I’m not here to bring hate. And I’m not here to bring division. In fact, I’m hoping and praying for the opposite. Recently, Jesus’s prayer for his disciples in John 17:14-23 has been on my heart.
“I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those who believe in Me through their word;
That they may all be one; even as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they may also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which you have given to Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.
I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them even as You have loved Me.”
Just to be clear, we are also His disciples. We are also called to be His followers. A little bit of context here, this prayer took place hours before the cross. Jesus was about to die a drawn out and painful death, and face a separation from the Father that He had never known. He was about to die of a broken heart, and one of His last prayers and petitions to God was that we would be one. Sit with that for a minute.
“That we be One” mattered to Jesus. And as a pastor I love recently pointed out, “As a follower of Jesus, the things that mattered to Jesus, should matter to us.” And I have to ask, does it? Does what Jesus desired for us matter enough to change how we live? Because when I look around at the church, I sometimes see a disjointed body, rather than a functioning one. Denominations and politics have marred our representation.
Do we sacrifice theology? No. Do we sacrifice justice? No. But what I’m saying is that if unity mattered to Jesus, there was a reason. Perhaps He knew we would need to be unified in Spirit. Because we are in a spiritual battle everyday. We have been since the fall. Read Daniel. Read your Bible. The forces of darkness are real, and they are unified. It would only make sense that we be unified to fight them. Do we agree on Jesus? Do we agree on salvation? Do we love Him enough to listen to His prayer and try to live it out?
What would a unified church look like in America? Stop for a minute and think about that. What if we unified under the heart of Christ and lived how He called us to? Jesus spoke for the downtrodden and broken. He helped the needy. He loved with a true love. A love that doesn’t condone sin, but draws people away from it. He wanted to make a way. And to give people a choice.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The enemy thrives on our disunity. And we are living in a world where evil has overplayed its hand. It’s time for the church to rise and live in the manner to which we are called. It’s time to unify our money, because if the church decided not to support companies that donated to the killing of children, and other actions that fly in the face of everything that we believe, companies like Starbucks, Nike, and Converse would go bankrupt, and people would start to listen.
If we decided that things that mattered to the heart of God mattered to us above anything, we would have pro-life leaders. Because despite what you might believe, abortion is a single-voting issue. It has preyed on the voiceless for far too long.
If the church unified we would see more revival. If the church unified we would see a Great Awakening. “A love so strong it changes me.” That’s what we would see.
And there are people in the church who would say that America shouldn’t matter,that we should only focus on the Kingdom; and that I would say with all due respect, is a lie. It’s what the enemy would have us believe. Because when we step out of the school boards, and out of the town councils, and out of every room where decisions are being made, we are giving the devil a very literal foothold.
If this world and what happened in it didn’t matter, there would be no great commission. America is not my idol. It is a tool to bring more people than ever before to the heart of Jesus. That should matter to you.
Where freedom of speech is not allowed, crusades and great awakenings and revivals are stilted. America has sent more missionaries out into the rest of the world than any other country, because we have the freedom of religion that allows us to do that. Our way of life is worth protecting if for no other reason than that it allows us to further the gospel, and provides a safe haven for the widow and orphan that the Bible commands us to care for. Let’s get of one mind on this.
If we constantly give in on the things that matter, we are not living worthy of the blood that was sacrificed for the freedom that we are so cavalier about.
The darkness has overplayed its hand. But when the church unifies it will be a sleeping giant that awakens and changes the landscape for future generations.