Unity Starts with Love and is Expressed in Obedience
The Bible teaches us in the Book of Romans that those who have yet to receive Jesus are at enmity with God. They are the enemies and objects of His wrath. On the other hand, believers are in unity with God through Christ. This is the essence of what being a Christian is; united with God in complete harmony and peace.
This unity with God is highlighted by Jesus in John 15:4-5,
4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
Jesus teaches us that we have been united with Him and must continually be joined and connected to Him just like a branch to a vine. Being vitally united with Christ is a believer’s key to abundant and fruitful living! On the contrary, our life is characterized by powerlessness when we are separated and divided from Christ. Christ says we can do nothing!
Since unity with Christ is so crucial, what does it entail and how can we ensure that we are vitally united with Christ daily? Read the verses in John 15:9-10 and you will notice that Jesus has given us the key to this unity in a very interesting manner:
9 I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].
10 If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.
Jesus’ focus on us abiding in His love after highlighting the need to be constantly united with Him speaks volume of the relationship between love and unity with Him!
Before studying these verses, I have always thought that unity with God is a characteristic that I can strive for in isolation. But no! Love is the source of unity! This daily unity with Christ begins with a genuine love for Christ.
Now you may say, “That is easy! I know I love Jesus!” Is love all that there is in being united with Christ? There is more! The love that Christ speaks of is never passive. It is not a feeling. It is an active obedience: “If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it…” (John 15:10). Notice the word ‘if’? Unity with Christ is a choice. We must choose to walk in His love daily through our obedience to be united with Him. Obedience is an evidence of our love for Christ. It does not come on its own nor easily. Love for God is never genuine without a commitment to obey. Love is the source of unity and it expresses itself in obedience. It is a daily journey that we need to work on!
Let us pray.
“Dear Lord, I thank You that I am united with You as one through the work of Christ. I have a life of abundance and fruitfulness when I plug myself into the Source of Life. I desire to be constantly connected to You as the Vine and to love You and the things You love. Teach me through Your Holy Spirit how I can better obey and live out your commandments today. Let my love for You compel me daily to be united with You through my obedience. In Jesus Name, Amen.”