A Lesson on Unity from Tower of Babel

john 1723

All this year the church I work for and attend has been praying for 5 different, specific areas of growth, and among them is unity. In these past months, I’ve learned that  praying for unity is sometimes a tricky thing. For example, if you pray for unity, you may begin to discover areas where there has been disunity–areas you didn’t even know existed.  But that’s a good thing–a really good thing actually, since you can’t address that which you don’t even realize is an issue needing to be addressed.  Honestly, I think I personally thought we were probably praying for greater unity. Praying for greater unity somehow makes you believe you don’t have to really consider areas where you may not have unity.

So during the course of this year, I have been taking note of certain aspects of what God says about unity.

Enter the Tower of Babel.

On Wednesday of this week, my boss/pastor shared a short message about the Tower of Babel with the students of Keokuk Christian Academy, the Christian school which is housed in our church. As I took a few minutes to go back and reread the account from Genesis  11, I couldn’t help but take note a statement I guess had somehow slipped my attention before.

It’s from verse 6:

“The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

Unity.

Those people had unity. It was just misguided unity. They were united for a wrong goal and they were united without God’s blessing. Their goal was to make a name for themselves and to not be scattered all over the world. (Verse 4) Goal #1 accomplished. Goal #2, Uh, not so much.

Apparently they were doing a pretty good job of building that tower, because God took note of these people who had united, and that there was little stopping them. Well, little, except for God.

So the Lord confused their language, scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building their city. End of unity.

I was reminded from these verses about how strong the power of unity is even when it is misguided, and I was inspired by even how much more powerful unity is when Christ is at the center and the glorification of His name is the purpose.

In John 17, John shares with us a prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us, the modern day believer. Both speak about unity. At the heart of Jesus’ own prayers for us is unity–that we would be one as He and God are One, so that the world might believe in Jesus, and that God sent Him to earth for us.

Because that is something worth being united about.

So how do we grow in unity? I believe by following the words and examples of Jesus and His disciples.

We pray for unity. (John17)

We stay kingdom focused. (John 17)

We choose unity. (I Peter 3:8)

We live out compassion and humility. (I Peter 3:8)

We don’t repay evil with evil or insult with insult. (I Peter 3:9)

We honor one another above ourselves. (Romans 12:10)

We are devoted to one another and share with God’s people who are in need. (Romans 12:10,13)

As we become truly unified, we continue to pray to grow in unity, so that those who are missing out on unity with Christ can know Him as Lord being reconciled to Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Out Of This World

Tim and I were watching a little TV last night after he got home from basketball and whatever it was we were watching had in its theme the idea of alien life. Our son, Trevor, tweeted this week, “In a hashtag aliens exist looks like alien sexist. Both of which would be kind of cool.” (He takes after his. . . I want to say father, but I’m afraid it’s his mother!) Anyway, then today as I was reading along in John 17 here comes, “They are not of this world, any more than I am of this world.” That reminded me of I Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and aliens in this world, to abstain from sinful desires which war against your soul.” If you have been following my blog at all by now you are getting how it goes. I see it, I hear it, I love it, I blog it.

There is so much great encouragement in John 17. Jesus is praying for the disciples. He’s praying for their protection. He makes it so clear that they are not of this world anymore than He is. He has taken them out of their world, and adopted them into His, made them into sons and daughters–and because of that, they would be hated. They would be persecuted. They would be under attack from the evil one. So Jesus prays His out of this world prayer for them, but also for us when He prays this protection:

“not for them alone but for those who will believe through their message.”

For all those who, for generations to come, will also come out of their world and step into His as adopted sons and daughters is the promise of new life, new identity, new purpose, new attitude, NEW!!!! CHANGED!!! REDEEMED!!! SAVED!!! from this old life–destined for a new one with Him. . . someday. . . forever. . . in Heaven.

He’s called us out of this world, so let’s live like we are from out of this world. Let’s live like strangers and aliens. Let’s live in such a way that people will be curious and hungry and desiring of the purity, generosity, honesty, joy, love, peace, kindness, boldness, grace, mercy, patience, selflessness that come from Christ . . . traits that are rarely seen in this world, because they are from out of this world.

As we enter into the Easter season, you might take notice that the out of this world prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples, and for you and for me, took place just before He crossed the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem on His way to an olive grove where He would be met by a disciple named Judas. Jesus understood, and was willing to die so that we could live out of this world both now and forever.