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Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 11, Ephesians 4:13-16, Our Goal-UNITY.

searching for Jesus 2
UNITY. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” One thing that Christ desired for His followers was that they walked in unity. In this passage, that unity or “oneness” is built upon the revealed truth of Christianity, and in particular, the complete Gospel. We have to be in agreement with what we believe. But I think it may be a little more than just want we say we believe. Being from the buckle of the Bible belt, we have been exposed to the “correct standards which we are to believe”. Sometimes these are called the fundamentals of the faith. So if we know that we are to believe the truth, and if the truth has been defined, why do we as Christians struggle with our goal, unity? I can’t speak for others, but as for me, the problem is that what I say I believe and what I act like I believe aren’t the same. I know what standards are to be my guides for life. And I “believe” those standards. But inside of me is a selfish nature that serves Christ with limits. I trust Him for salvation, but then don’t seek Him first, but instead pursue the things that I think are best for me. I “believe” in prayer, but lack a consistency in my prayer life. I believe the authority of His Word, but “pick and choose” the parts that I want to obey. I believe that I am to love others unconditional, but always place conditions on the exercising of my love toward the people who God has brought into my life. You see, the problem with unity is my self-centered and selfish attitude toward life. But there is a part of the verse that mentions “the knowledge of the Son of God”. Obliviously we first think this is about knowing about Christ, but it is in reality, the intimacy that comes from spending time in His word, seeking Him above preparing lessons or sermons. This intimacy comes from being transparent and open before Him in prayer, instead of praying what everyone expects a godly person to pray. You know, the Sunday school prayers that we utter, making sure that we say the right things because we believe if God really knew what’s in my heart, He wouldn’t love me. We speak of unconditional love, but realize that loving others without conditions is rare and unusual, so we don’t act as if we really believe God loves me without conditions or without me earning His love. We tend to love God for the “blessings” He gives, but then are quick to ask, “why are You doing this to me” when faced with a trial or struggle. Our knowledge of the Son of God comes from forsaking everything to follow Him, but we have difficulty following Him unless we know in advance where He is leading. You see, the biggest obstacle to UNITY is me. Until I display from His control of me, the fullness of Christ I will be a hindrance to UNITY. What then is this “fullness of Christ”? Could it be being so full of Christ that He flows from us to others? Father, I must stop talking to others and talk to you. I am the problem! It is because of me that your body doesn’t follow You but buys into every “next best thing” to capture our thoughts and focus. God, I sometimes get more involved in the color of a dress on the internet, than I do about You. Forgive me. Forgive me when politics, sports, weather, money, others, or anything else becomes my focus. When it does, then I hinder the body working as if it is knit and joined together, with every person (part) doing his or her share. Father, help me value what I believe to the point of putting my belief into practice so that I don’t hinder the body working together in UNITY. God, I surrender to you and I die to me. Please capture me in your embrace and change me from the inside out so that You are what others see in me. Wipe out my selfishness and replace it with Christ-likeness.

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