“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” John 17:22

I heard on the news again that Saudi Arabia and Israel are flirting with making an alliance. The reason? They share a mutual concern over a common enemy ~ Iran. slovenia-double-taxation-avoidance-agreementsThese two nations are certainly strange bedfellows and under any other circumstance, they would be adversaries. If they unite, their alliance will not be strong.

The same is true of personal connections. Friendships, even marriages, are pursued for similar reasons. Two people come together because they are against the same things. Their bond is also fragile. Common values are missing. Unity in the things that really matter are absent and this is what creates strong fiber between people.

This matter of unity was so important that Jesus prayed about it the night He was betrayed. This was His ‘goodbye prayer’ before leaving His disciples. He asked God to help them experience the kind of unity that He and His Father enjoyed. When hard times hit them in the days ahead, Jesus knew that only a spiritual unity would keep the early church strong.

I have had many soulish friendships over the course of my life. We would often recount all the things we shared in common. They were good things but it took maturity to realize that they weren’t deep things. Our fellowship was only as deep as our passions. Without Jesus at the center, we were just playmates.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of people who married for reasons other than spiritual kinship. Things were fine until life tested their values. They discovered that they were worlds apart in what they deemed most important. Unity was impossible as long as only one of them was passionate about truth. The fiber of their marriage eroded until God intervened with saving faith for the unbelieving spouse.

So, it is good to put each of our relationships to the test. Upon what is our unity based? How deep does it go? What issues would put us at odds? What things are we most passionate about and are we unified? If Jesus is not at the center of our shared affections, we can expect the stability the likes of a Saudi/Israeli treaty.

As I remember Your words, “Let them be one as we are one”…I celebrate and I also lament. Strengthen the bonds of my holy alliances. Expose all unholy affiliations and show me how to pray for change. Don’t let me lose my voice to keep the peace. It is false peace, Lord. Amen

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