Devotional of the week: God in us for unity

We’re at the beginning of Advent, but instead of starting a new series, I’m continuing with this one through December on the indwelling Christ. After all, the Incarnation – the coming of Jesus – is what we celebrate at Christmas, how he’s birthed in our lives. May your time of waiting this Advent season be filled with wonder and awe. 
Photo: Carla Vasquez, flickr

Photo: Carla Vasquez, flickr

“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” (John 17:20–26).

In my twenties I lived in a house with three other women. Over a decade some of them moved in and out, but one woman and I lived together the whole time. And she was the one whom I most struggled to love or to have unity with.

Being blind to my own faults, I rarely saw things from her point of view. Thus I was shocked during one of our struggles when she said that she had asked God to show her how much he loved me. “Oh dear,” I thought, “Who am I that Kay needs to pray for me in this way?” A few scales fell from my eyes as I realized how self-focused and proud I had been. I had to humble myself and ask her forgiveness. After that revelation, we still had our challenges, but we forged a deeper bond based on our shared love for Jesus Christ.

Our passage this week focuses on the unity of believers, and comes again during Jesus’ last night with the disciples. Here is Jesus’ longest and most intimate prayer, where he prays not only for the followers of his day but for those who would come after – us! Jesus longs that we would be united even as he is one with the Father and the Spirit. This unity is not just for our own good, but that the world would yearn to know more about Jesus.

Being united can be difficult and painful, especially when we glimpse our own sins through the eyes of another. It requires openness, vulnerability, forgiveness, and grace, but we can rest in Jesus’ prayer for us. For he who dwells in us will help us bring about his unity, in and through him.

Prayer: Lord, I often miss the log in my own eye and want to pull out a speck in someone else’s. Give me clarity of vision that I might love others as you love them.

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