I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:20-23)
My Lord despises spiritual pride and so my desire is always to be free of it. But I am willing to risk being labelled with it rather than remain silent about the need of our Christian community to grow up and become who we are called to be.
We are living in both the times of difficulty described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and the times of spiritual immaturity described in Hebrews 5:13-15. Everywhere I look, the Church is failing to distinguish good from evil. One segment fails to discern sexual immorality and the sanctity of life while another fails to discern the equally unacceptable absence of humility and agape love. One ignores God’s hatred of lawlessness while the other ignores His compassion for the lost and oppressed.
Across our nation, people are being led astray by traditions and philosophies of man that are contrary to the whole counsel of the Word of God. (Matthew 15:2-9; Colossians 2:8; Acts 20:27) As a result, we are a divided house with a weak witness, and losing each upcoming generation to the world even more than we lost the last. (Mark 3:25; 1 Peter 2:9-15)
When the Lord drew me back to Him in 1991, He gave me a hunger to know ever more about Him and draw ever closer to Him. (John 16:13; James 4:8) In addition to reading and re-reading scripture, I immediately began to devour the books of wonderful teachers like Max Lucado, Philip Yancey, and C.S. Lewis. It was in the Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis that I found the phrase, “Come further up, come further in.” Amen!
As I became more aware of the importance of the Holy Spirit, I turned to charismatic teachers like Derek Prince and R.T. Kendall. Christie and I attended multi-day conferences with great speakers and great worship. We interacted in our community with devout Christian men and women from a variety of Christian faith expressions. The more we learned and experienced, the more we became aware of how much more we needed to learn and experience.
Christie has graduated to a knowledge of the Lord I cannot expect to have while I remain on earth. I am still a work in progress. But I have seen a truth in scripture that is life-changing, biblically inarguable, and yet hardly ever mentioned. If you are truly a Christian, your Lord God now lives in you! So, what are you going to do about it?
The scriptural testimony for this is set forth in my book: Be With Jesus, Be Like Jesus, Be For Jesus. All I can provide here is the “nutshell” version and point out there are hundreds of scriptures in addition to John 17:20-23 that verify what I am saying.
God creates all people, male and female, in His image and likeness, and so all have the potential to become children of God. However, sin – our failure to trust and obey God – separates us from a holy God and we are unable to bridge that gap. Therefore, God in His perfect love sent His Son Jesus to take on the form of humanity and die for the sins of the world.
When we repent of our failure to trust and obey God and put our trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord, God forgives our sins and reconciles us to Himself in the most incredible way imaginable. The Holy Spirit proceeds from God to live within us forever and become one with our human spirit. (John 15:26; Romans 8:9-17; 1 Corinthians 6:17)
What we have consistently failed to grasp is that the Holy Spirit is much more than a seal of our salvation or bestower of spiritual gifts and power. God is one God in three Persons, and the Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity, both eternally and perfectly one with the Father and Son.
Every day we are quenching and grieving God the Holy Spirit by our compromises in trust and obedience, our lack of agape love for everyone He loves, and our lack of unity in Him. The Bible urges us to honor who He is and follow Him daily as He transforms us, fills us, and unites us with the Father, the Son, and each other. (1 John 1:1-4)
Then the world will finally be able to know and believe.
God bless you, and God bless our community.