November 25, 2003
Encouragement for Today
Ramona Davis - Proverbs 31 Certified Speaker
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. John 17:23
The room became a battlefield as my dear friend and I spit hot words at each other. Before we knew what was happening, we were throwing grenade words and the verbal explosions shook the room. We both took aim and fired our last shots as we turned on our heels and headed back to separate classrooms in the school where we both work.
Soon there began another war, one in my heart between my will and His. I was flooded with one emotion after another; anger, hurt, then conviction. It was as if Jesus pulled up a chair close to me, put His Hand on my shoulder and applied His Truth to my heart. He reminded me of the deep love I have for my friend and that things could not remain like they were. He expected quick reconciliation and unity. He reminded me that we were sisters in Him and eternal friends. My will crossed its defiant arms, stomped its stubborn feet and said, “She started it!” “I’m right, she’s wrong and I’m justified to be angry and hurt!” His will looked at me with compassion and tenderly said, “I don’t care who’s right; you need to ask forgiveness and forgive”. His tender mercy and truth melted my will and I began to cry tears of Godly sorrow.
It was just minutes later that my friend and I fell into each other’s arms as we met halfway in the hall. (He’d been talking to her, too.) We slipped to a quiet place and through tears of remorse; we couldn’t stop begging for each other’s forgiveness. We immediately bowed our heads and went to the Throne Room together, hand in hand to approach the Father. Together we asked for His forgiveness and asked for His protection over our relationship. I’m sure I saw Him smile.
In the beautiful prayer of Jesus just before He was arrested and crucified (John 17), He prayed for our unity. He was facing a horrible death on the cross and what was on His Mind? You and I were on His Mind and His heartfelt request for our unity in Him!
Why is unity so important to Him? In verse 21 He explains, so the world may believe that God sent Him. Unity among believers is our greatest witness to Jesus. Unbelievers recognize us as Jesus’ disciples by our deeds of love for one another. It is what sets us apart.
Unity has many intricate parts such as prayer, forgiveness, grace, accountability, kindness and confidentiality. But it is the gift of God’s agape love that binds these parts all together. This kind of love is not our natural human tendency. It is not concerned with self, but desires to love by choice, not seeking anything in return. The apostle Paul talks about this love in the 13 chapter of the Book of 1 Corinthians. The following verses describe it clearly for us (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 NIV).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Oh, how my friend and I have rejoiced since then. We both have seen clearly what could have happened if we had not been obedient to His call. You see satan had plans to steal, kill and destroy our relationship. Oh but praise Him, He has other plans.
A few weeks later, my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, we have often talked about what satan tried to do that day. We occasionally have glimpses of what could happened had God not called us to unity in the bond of love. We always end our conversation in praise and tears of joy for The One who pours out agape love in our hearts.
Is there a relationship in your life that needs unity? Don’t waste another day, run to the Father then run to your friend.
My Prayer for Today:
Oh God, how I thank You for Your agape love. I thank you for Jesus who forgives me of my sins. Forgive me when I have allowed my will to stand defiantly against Yours. Pour out Your love in my heart for my friend and help me restore this relationship today. Amen.
Spend time in prayer, seek His forgiveness and ask Him to show you how to restore a broken relationship through His forgiveness and love today.
In John 15:12, Jesus gives us a commandment. What is it?
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that satan kills, steals and destroys. What does Jesus offer us?
How is your love and unity impacting those around you?
How can paying for and with one another create a strong bond of unity?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. Record all the truths of what love is and is not. Use this as a checklist while you pray for God to reveal your weakness. Ask for His help to strengthen each one and write specific ways to do so.
John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (NKJV)
Colossians 3:13, 14 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (NIV)
Ephesians 4:2, 3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one
another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the
bond of peace. (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 4:12 An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break. (NCV)
Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (NIV)
At Home with God by Sharon Jaynes
How to Have Healthy Relationships by Mary Southerland
Unleashing the Power of God in My Life by Mary Southerland
Originally published Tuesday, 25 November 2003.