This week, we have been recognising the spiritual authority that we have when even just ‘two or three are gathered in Jesus name.’ We have also seen that there is synergy, as well as safety checks, in finding the ‘mind of Christ’, or discerning the will of God in the company of our fellow believers. It is powerful that we are not alone but that God called us to be brothers and sisters in His family, intending that we will work together.
Yesterday we were thinking about how good it is to thank God for our fellow believers even when that might be difficult. We were thinking about how our thanksgiving helps us to recognise the treasure that is in each one of God’s children, and this is so good because it starts us on the road to loving each other as Jesus loves us, and that makes Jesus happy beyond words.
One of the last things He said to His disciples was ‘A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ John 13:34.
He even prayed for them, (and for us), saying “My prayer is not for them alone, 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 in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Now listen to this, as Jesus continues His prayer, “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. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have sent me, and have loved them even as you have loved me”. John 17:20-23.
Psalm 133, tells us that God loves our unity and love for one another so much that He can’t stop away. ‘Behold, How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord commanded the blessing, – life forever’. NASB.
Could this be a prophetic picture of the Holy Spirit coming down on the Body of Christ, when we dwell together in unity? I think it is. Things happen when we are walking with each other in love and unity. God comes among us carrying His blessing. Within the Godhead there is complete unity, and Father, Son and Holy Spirit constantly show love and honour to each other.
As we thank God for each other’s past, present and future, in the way that we indicated yesterday, our love and understanding of each other grows. Being grateful to God for those He has given me to walk alongside not only helps me to see them through His eyes, a work of grace still to be fully transformed into His likeness, but it helps me to seek their blessing too.
As I see them as part of the same body of Christ as me, I find myself praying for them perhaps at a time when I would naturally feel critical, and releasing blessing over them when I would feel like pointing out a fault or two. This is not a false kind of blindness, or a suppressing of a true challenge when someone is in need of it, but it is a recognition that as my brothers and sisters in the body get ‘built up in love’, I’m a winner too.
Paul writes, ‘So as those who have been chosen by God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.’ Colossians 3:12-14. NASB
Thanking God for my brothers and sisters helps to transform my thinking about each one and increases my love for them, and every time that happens it is a fulfilment of Jesus’ prayer of John 17, and we can be sure therefore that we are making Him very happy too.