Please note the following is an excerpt from “Jesus’ Prayer from A to Z”, of which I’m Editor.
- I - I, Pride And Jesus’ Prayer For Unity, by Idleman, Ken
My prayer is... for those who will believe in me... that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you... that the world may believe... (John 17:20,21)
In John 17 Jesus prayed a prayer that is yet to be answered in its fullness. He prayed for the church to be united, for Christians to stand together. Did Jesus know what He was asking? His own disciples couldn't seem to be one even while Jesus was with them!
According to Luke 22 and John 13, it was earlier that very evening that the twelve were arguing about who was the greatest. This was at least the third time we know about that there had been a discussion like this among them. It had been less than a week since Jesus explained to them that the greatest should be the least.
On the night he prayed this prayer for unity, He decided to give them a visual aid to address their tendency to jockey for position. He picked up a towel, knelt down and began to do the lowest of slave labor. The room probably grew very quiet as the status-seeking disciples realized their master, the Son of God, was washing their feet.
In the twenty centuries that have passed since the events of that night, not much has changed in human nature. We're still not much different than the twelve disciples. What keeps us from oneness; what keeps the contemporary church perpetually fractured, more than anything else, is selfish pride.
College Press and Christian Standard surveyed a sampling of churches to determine what issues are most divisive in local churches today. In the 400 churches responding to the survey, the most divisive issue was the kind of music employed in worship; second was the minister's leadership style; and third was the allocation of finances. Not one of these issues rises to the level of justifying division.
Here is the point - the source of most division among God's people is not doctrine, but pride! We are united in our commitment to the Lordship of Christ, the authority of the Bible, the unity of believers and the evangelization of the world. What we divide over is primarily related to what we prefer, want or insist on in the realm of opinion. That, my friend, is selfish pride and we must repent of it for the sake of Jesus and His prayer for unity. "Submitting to one another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5:21) would take us a long way toward becoming living answers to Jesus' prayer.
Prayer: Our Father, empower us by your Spirit to renounce our selfish pride and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, who sought to serve rather than to control. In His name we pray. Amen
Idleman, Dr. Ken - Newburgh, IN - Senior Pastor, Crossroads Christian Church. Formerly President of Ozark Christian College for 27 years. Earned degrees from Lincoln Christian College and Seminary (B.A.; M.Div.). Honorary D.D. from Milligan College. Contributing writer for College Press, Christian Standard and Lookout. 1992 NACC President. He and wife Kaylene have three children, ten grandchildren.
I bow my knees for this cause
unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
of whom the whole family
in heaven and earth is named,
that He would grant you,
according to the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened with might
by His spirit in the inner man;
may dwell in your hearts by faith;
being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth, and length,
and depth, and height;
and to know the love of Christ
which passes knowledge,
that you might be filled
with all the fullness of God.
Now unto Him
that is able to do
exceeding abundantly above
all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,
Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end.
Has my ego become a problem for unity in my congregation?
Pray Jesus’ prayer for:
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Italy, Ivory CoastThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Tom (Jn.17:21) M.,
Fellowship of John 17:21
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