An Answer to Jesus’ Prayer
by Paula Miles, Guest Writer
Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. I in them and You in me - May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as You loved me.
John 17:17, 23
In John 17, our groom, Jesus, prayed for His bride, the people of God, the church. He prayed this prayer right before He was arrested and sent to be crucified. In the anguish of facing the cross, these were the things on His heart. He asked the Father to sanctify us by the truth. He goes on to say that God’s Word is truth. Jesus longs for us to be set apart by the power of the Word through the work of the Spirit. God’s Word is living and active and is at work in those of us who believe (I Thessalonians 2:13). God has chosen us to declare His praises and to live such good lives that others would see our good deeds and glorify Him (I Peter 2:12). The Word equips us to do that. The Word prepares us and grows us to look more like Jesus, just like we read earlier this week in Ephesians 4.
He also prays for us to be brought to complete unity, to dwell in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that boldly proclaims the gospel. The way we relate to each other will either validate or negate the claims of the gospel. God’s story has always been about a people. We were never intended to live the Christian life alone. The heart of our Savior longs for us to be set apart by His truth and united together by His love. How are you being an answer to Jesus’ prayer? I recently found in a local store a coaster that read, “We are all just walking each other home.” How true is that for those of us who are in Christ?! Anchored in His promises and interlocked together we are all just walking each other home.
Christmas of 2017 I received a handwritten Christmas letter from a dear saint and spiritual mother, Faith, who had moved from our little town about ten years ago to be closer to her family. In her 90’s, she continues to faithfully and joyfully serve the Lord. In this letter, she spoke the truth to me in love reminding me that my husband and I investing our gifts in serving our Lord was a safe investment that brings joy and blesses others. She went on to reflect on my son’s accident and assured me that God never wastes our valley experiences. But it was the last thing she said that really gripped me. “Maybe Jesus will return in 2018, so we need to be about our Father’s business.” Maybe 2019. . . Our Savior’s prayer reflects the will of His Father – our Father. We are called to content/truth in the context of community/love – a building, a body, a bride. Surely we should be about His business. To God be the glory!
Is the Word the centerpiece of your life? Do you feed and nurture your own soul with the precious promises of God? Because you hold so tightly to those promises, are you able to speak the truth in love to those around you? Is your life and ministry Word-based and relationally-driven? Do you openly and prayerfully combat the world’s lies of autonomy, independence and self-sufficiency? Do you lead in dependence and vulnerability before your sisters in Christ as you minister to and come alongside them? Are you using your gifts for the good of the body and encouraging others to do the same? Do you recognize and communicate the grand story of redemption that God is writing and live in anticipation of the bridegroom? Surely we should be about our Father’s business!
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to The Amish Schoolhouse Shooting – A Light in the Darkness audio resource so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
On October 2, 2006, Marie Monville’s husband entered an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and shot ten young girls, killing five of them, before turning the gun on himself. How does a person find hope in such darkness? How does the wife of the man who perpetrated such horror rebuild her life and the lives of her children? How could she ever forgive her husband?
Paula Miles is wife to Kevin, a ruling elder at Clemson Presbyterian, and mother of Wimberly Johnson (married to Charlie), Janie, Clary, and Judy. She grew up in Anderson, SC and graduated from Clemson University. Paula has experienced the joy of being both a full time homemaker and a public school teacher. Studying and teaching God’s Word is her passion, as well as coming alongside women to encourage them to understand their unique design and fulfill their individual callings. Paula is on staff at Clemson Presbyterian as women’s ministry coordinator since 2014, is a conference speaker, and serves on the national women’s ministry team for the PCA as a women’s ministry trainer. She enjoys regular exercise, watching sporting events, and investing in the lives of her family.
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