Jesus put it so simply: “I am the vine, you are the branches. My Father is the Gardener – He’s looking for fruit in you, your transformation, each in your unique way, into My likeness, by manifesting in your new personality the fruit of His Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. With such fruit, you will be as I am in this world. Keep living in Me and let Me live in you, by faith. At all costs, let nothing come between you and Me, remain in My love and let My words permeate you, in mind, heart and deed.”
This is how the Father is glorified in us. Any service that does not spring from this root is unacceptable to Him, simply fruitless. He is looking for the aroma of Christ coming from us as we approach Him, as we deal with others. He is single-minded in His desire to reveal His Son in us, to send us out as children of Light, bringing Light to those sitting in the darkness of disconnection from Him.
To this end, Jesus prayed for our deep connection with each other, in Himself, for the God-like oneness of the fruit-bearers, those in the faith as defined by Paul: “knowing that Christ is in you” (2 Cor 13:5). He prayed in line with the Father’s will, for His strategy for the coming of the world to faith: our world-discernible oneness – not a spiritual unity only. For centuries we have offered Him anything else but this lived out demonstration of our one Lord revealed in us, His body on earth.
There is a fundamental disconnect between His Lordship and our disobedience. We desire the conversion of the world, but not in His way. Content with our ways of being His body, we have “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge,” not conformed to the mind of Christ. “Yes, Lord, we know You want it but no, Lord, it’s impossible, too costly to even seriously contemplate.”
But His will is that the fruit of our being in Him and He in us should find expression primarily in our “maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… to grow up in every way … into Christ, from Whom the whole body, (… knit together by every joint with which it is supplied), when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow for the building up of itself in love.” We can only conclude that we must be stunted in growth as a body, and individually not working properly, so long as we are not endeavouring to relate together out of the fruit of the Spirit of Christ in us.
Lord, we are ashamed as we look back on our long history of deafness to Your heart cry to the Father for our oneness. We bow in repentance that in our unwillingness to be built together we have hindered the world from coming to believe that the Father did send You out of love for them. We confess that we have not sought to share the fruits of Your Spirit with those in other parts of the body, not even widely within our own circles. Lord Jesus, we want You to have free reign in us, to trust in You with all our heart and not to lean on our own understanding. Please forgive us and help us to submit to You in all our ways, to let You direct our paths towards oneness in Your body.