John 17:17 (AMP) Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth.
This was the key verse in my Smith Wigglesworth devotional yesterday. The devotional was talking about making the Word the authority in your life. He wanted to convey that instead of praying whether you should obey the word (which is just disobedience), do the Word. He questioned the heart of the believer for having to pray whether God wanted them to do what was written in the Word.
This got me thinking about the “set them apart for Your purposes,” as it is written in the Amplified Version. Since the beginning of man, Satan has taken God’s Word and twisted it (taking it out of context). Taking this Word out of context we can justify us isolating ourselves from the community of believers. A person can attend a weekly service and still be isolated, because they choose not to get involved with each others lives. They have been “set apart for a purpose.” Really they have a deep rooted fear of not feeling important to the community of believers, but only important to God, therefore, they are “set apart.” I know, because I used to be one of those. Fear will tell you that you are not wanted, not needed and not loved.
Let us put that key verse into context. John 17:15-21 (AMP) I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. For their sake I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth. “I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me.
I took the liberty of underlining some very important elements. First, Jesus is talking about a group, not an individual. He did not say “some believers,” He said a blanket “believers.” To me that means there is not room for me to not be included in these verses, if I am called a “believer.” So therefore, I should not be praying if this is God’s will for my life. If I am a “believer” then, that is an automatic yes I should be obeying this.
“I do not pray for these alone (it is not for their sake only that I make this request),” I believe these words are written in red in some Bibles. This means that Jesus did not single anyone out. This is meant for ALL who will ever believe. He has sent us out to be apart of this world, not of this world. That means I have to allow the messy part of the world to be a part of my life, so that He can shine bright in it.
“That they all may be one…so the world may believe (without any doubt) that You sent Me.” This right here should give us a heart check in why we are called to a Body (a church, a community of believers). What if I have a gifting that can be done alone? Does this verse say you should? Jesus sent the disciples out two by two (Luke 10:1). When we read about intercession in the New Testament we read about it happening in groups (Acts 12:5). Yes, you can do things on your own, but does that mean you should? I have to remind myself that time and again. It is not “I” that is set apart, it is “we” that is set apart.
Praying that you know that you are needed, that you are wanted and that you are loved. Do not let fear hold you back from really being a part of a community any longer. There is purpose in community!
Hebrews 10:24 (TPT) Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.