“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.” John 17:22
I loved playing team sports as I was growing up. As a teenager, it was challenging for my independent spirit to see the greater goal of the team beyond my personal goal. But it was always amazing to me how well the team played when everyone listened to the coach and saw the bigger picture, and how we all win if we play selflessly. It didn’t take away from the differences that each team member brought to the table; in fact, it enhanced each person’s uniqueness, for everyone wanted their fellow team members to succeed by doing what they did best. Now this was a very rare experience to witness and be part of, to see immature teenagers all get that greater glory which could be experienced through teamwork.
Jesus did not come to make us the same in personality or gifting but rather to unite us in our differences by giving us the greater goal—and the means to achieve this goal. His goal or purpose for us is to love as He does. He knew if we could taste and see His glory, found in His love, we would all let go of cheap, individualized imitations of that glory. He knew that we would start to celebrate one another, love one another and work together for a greater goal.
And that greater goal was to bring glory to God. But what does it mean to bring glory to God? It means many things, but one thing I have learned is that the greatest goal is to enjoy God above all things. When that is my personal goal, all other things can be enjoyed in their right way. We can enjoy the opposite sex in the right way when God’s glory is the greater goal rather than having our personal gratification be our goal. For indeed, if our personal gratification is more important than someone else’s on ‘team humanity’, then they will be negatively affected for our benefit. This happens in so many areas, but Jesus came not to hold back His glory but to give it to us. Even though we deserved the opposite of His glory, still He gave us this glory, which is the very nature, the very weightiness, very character, the very love of God. Oh, what a gift! We can now all be united in this greater goal, through enjoying God above all else, and our actions can flow out of the revelation of His glory. No longer will we be pushing each other down to achieve a weak version of this glory, but instead we will want to be loving one another like the Father and Son love each other. It’s Their love that makes them one. The unchanging love that abides between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is so glorious that they are One, and out of this oneness all of creation flowed.
And so it is with us as a church and churches around the world. Out of us will flow a beautiful creative work of the Kingdom when our goal is greater. His glory today can make us one. May the world see Him us enjoying Him above all things so that in all things we can bring joy to others.