ゼパニア 3:9 そのとき、わたしは、国々の民のくちびるを変えてきよくする。彼らはみな主の御名によって祈り、一つになって主に仕える。

What a glorious promise of unity across racial and cultural lines! It is important to realize that this is going to require change. (The Japanese is more explicit about this than the English is.) Cultural pride being what it is, each group is likely to think “They will have to become more like us,” when actually everyone is going to have to change! When it speaks of our lips being purified, it doesn't mean we'll all speak the same language, but rather that the content of our speech will change. No longer will we be boasting of anything other than Christ crucified. No longer will we be belittling our neighbor. No longer will we be deceptive or dishonest. Those things are traps and snares in every race and culture! We will truly speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), building one another up and giving praise and glory to God. This verse actually is a foreshadowing of Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17, when He prayed that all believers would enjoy the same unity enjoyed by the Trinity. Now that's true unity!


I am very much in the middle of an “already/not yet” situation. I know that Jesus has already accomplished everything necessary for the fulfillment of this Scripture, but I don't see it completed in my time frame. I cannot change anyone else, so I need to focus on my own lips and heart being submitted and obedient to God. I certainly have a history of wounding people with my words, erecting barriers instead of taking them down, thinking I was protecting or defending myself. I have repented, but I must not forget that I have that tendency, just as everyone else does. I cannot look down on anyone in that area! Rather, I must extend to them the grace that was given to me, so that the Holy Spirit may work in them and in me toward the fulfillment of the prophecy of this verse.


Father, unity is a major issue for this church, as it is for every church, and among churches. Keep me from demanding that everyone become like me (other than in my love for You!). Rather, lead us all to be so focused on Jesus that His character is manifested in each one, with all the glorious variety that You planned and intended from Creation. Help us understand the difference between unity and sameness. This culture has placed a high value on sameness, and it has blinded many to true unity. Help us all seek You so fully that our differences won't matter, and Christ will be manifested in us for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


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