In the Webster’s New English Language Thesaurus the word “union” is synonymous with “Accord, agreement, alliance, association, blend, brotherhood, coalition, compound, concord, concurrence, conjunction, fusion, guild, harmony, intercourse, joint, league, meeting, seam, syndicate, unanimity, unison.”
The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “union” as…
U’NION, noun [Latin unio, to unite, from unus, one.]
1. The act of joining two or more things into one, and thus forming a compound body or a mixture; or the junction or coalition of things thus united. union differs from connection, as it implies the bodies to be in contact, without an intervening body; whereas things may be connected by the intervention of a third body, as by a cord or chain.
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
2. Concord; agreement and conjunction of mind, will, affections or interest. Happy is the family where perfect union subsists between all its members.
3. The junction or united existence of spirit and matter; as the union of soul and body.
4. Among painters, a symmetry and agreement between the several parts of a painting.
5. In architecture, harmony between the colors in the materials of a building.
Taken together, every synonym and definition for “union” mentioned above paints a beautiful picture of what exists when we unite ourselves to the Lord. However, beyond these human definitions rests a further reality.
As Jesus said to His first disciples, He says to us, “…I am in the Father, and the Father in me…I am in my Father, and ye are in me, and I in you.” Jn. 14:10, 20, KJV (See also Jn. 17:21a, 23a, 24)
Think about it — Jesus is in our Father, our Father is in Him, we are in Him and He is in us.
Now, chew on that. Really think about it.
Then, consider this…
“…We are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does…” 1 Jn. 1:7, TLB
“…He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” 1 Cor. 6:17, NKJV
“…You and Christ are joined together as one person.” 1 Cor. 6:17, TLB
“…You are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.” 1 Cor. 3:23, The Message Bible
Those who have been “joined” to the Lord have been glued to Him, stuck to Him and unified to Him (N.T. Strong’s # 2853). They are no longer two trying to be one. Rather, they are one, baptized into union with Him, clothed in Him (Gal. 3:27), who’s made them alive by giving them the very same Life which raised Jesus from the dead (Eph. 2:5).
Jesus made us one with Himself, while religion keeps Him at a distance, separate from us (Heb 12:18-21). This mentality has saturated our traditions, our praise and worship music, and our prayers with “little foxes” (errors) that have spoiled the vine of the Church (Song 2:15), poisoning (brainwashing) the minds and hearts of many. These subtle mindsets have constructed ungodly strongholds, crippling the Body of Christ, keeping it from being the expression of Christ in the earth.
Jesus came face to face with this kind of thinking when He encountered the scribes and Pharisees, to whom He said, “…Woe to you…pretenders (hypocrites)! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces; for you neither enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are about to go in to do so” (Matt. 23:13, Amp). Jesus came to rend the veil between Himself and His people so that we can know Him face to face, while religious authorities worked (and still work today, for the most part) to condition believers toward dependence upon them rather than upon the Lord, so that they no longer truly need Him as their Source of Life.
Yet, there are some today who truly need Him and are entering beyond the rent veil, sitting with the Lord in His throne (Rev. 3:21) so that His realm of existence is becoming their reality (Jn. 14:3b).
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way…through the veil…[of]…his flesh.” Heb. 10:19-20, KJV
Jesus’ flesh was ravaged, torn like the veil, so that we could enter with boldness into His heart. And what is the heart of Jesus? It is the Secret Place of the Most High (Ps. 91). This explains why John, the Beloved, leaned upon Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper (Jn. 13:23). He heard and felt something alive and profound within his Friend, something wonderful beyond the flesh — beyond the veil — before Christ’s body was ever torn apart on Calvary. Can you imagine John’s excitement when He rested his ear on Jesus’ breast and heard His heartbeat? What do you think he heard? Can you imagine what you would hear? Those with ears to hear, have heard this Sound and have been ruined for anything less.
Regarding Eve, Adam said, “This [creature] is… bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh…”, thereby declaring their mutual union as “one flesh.” (Gen. 2:23-24, Amp)
In this same way, the Lord created us and opened His trinitarian circle — formed by the Father, Son and Spirit — to us, bringing us into the reality of the oneness He enjoys within Himself, so that “…we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones,“ joined to Him as our Head (Eph 5:30, KJV). As a result, “…His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us…” through and through (Eph. 4:16, Message)
But there is one problem: Just as a husband and wife must “leave” their parents before they can cleave to one another, we have to “leave” all that prevents us from being fully His so that we can then “cleave” to Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Therefore, we have to count the cost (Lk. 14:28-33). Are we willing to put Him before our personal interests (Lk. 9:57, 58; 12:31-35; 14:27), our family and friends (Matt. 19:29-30; Lk. 9:59-62; 14: 25-26), our reputation (Jn. 15:8, 18, 19, 21, 25; Phil. 2:7) and our pride (Jn. 13:14)? Are we willing to be set apart from everything but Him and His highest and best for us? Making a covenant with God demands all or nothing. He expects from us the very thing He gave us: A complete, whole-life sacrifice. Of course, if you think God would never, under any circumstances, require this kind of commitment from you, then don’t ever pursue this level of relationship with Him and He won’t.
The Lord is bringing into harmony with Himself those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. His intention is to give everything He is, has and does to the “one” who will reciprocate His affections (Song 2:10; 6:9). This intercourse of heart and mind, where all things are blended into one, is the longing of His heart, as well as of those He is wooing.
“And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves…” Mal. 2:15, Amp
Applying this verse to “Christ and the church,” consider this: Christ, our heavenly Bridegroom, and the Bride, His Church, are coming together in holy matrimony and producing a godly offspring after His kind, “…superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]…” (Eph. 3:20, Amp)
Revelation 12:1-6 (KJV) describes “a woman clothed with the sun” who “being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” The fruit of her union with Christ, according to verse five, is “a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron…” (Compare to Ruth 4:13-17; Song 3:4 & 8:8; Lk. 1:26-35) Today, a many-membered man-child is being birthed to carry on the works Jesus did and greater (John 14:12), ushering in the Kingdom (the King’s domain) on earth as it is in Heaven.
Now, let’s look at our union with the Lord from a slightly different angle…
Hebrews 2:11 (KJV) says, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
In the Amplified, it says, “For both he that sanctifies [making men holy] and those who are sanctified all have one [Father]. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
“For both the sanctifier and the sanctified…” American Bible Union Version
“…Are all of one…” J.B. Rotherham Translation
“…Have all one Father…” W.J. Conybeare Translation
“…Are all of one family…” The Bible in Basic English
“…Are all of one stock…” The New English Bible
“…Have all one origin…” James Moffatt Translation
“…All spring from one…” The 20th Century New Testament
“…Are all of one source…” Wuest Translation
We, who have been born from Above, have sprung from the same source as our Sanctifier, Jesus Christ. He and we have “one Father.” We are of “one stock” and “one origin” who came from “one source.” Therefore, Jesus calls us “One big happy family” (1 Pet. 3:8, TLB). This is who we are!
The Branch Man
John 15:1, 2, 4 and 5 (Amp) say,
“I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
“Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit…
“Dwell in Me and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”
Here’s the same passage in The Message Bible…
“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.
“He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more…
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”
In The Living Bible, the last verse says…
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.”
Jesus is the Vine and we are His branches, His offshoots (Gen. 49:11; Prov. 11:28; Jer. 2:21). Together we are “a plant of renown” (Ezek. 34:29, KJV). When both are vitally joined — intimately and organically — fruit is produced and life is released. Those who enter into Him and rest steadfastly in Him will inherit Life and be a dispenser of the same. The Life of the Vine will then appear within the Life of the branches, thereby reflecting the nature of the Vine. However, if the Vine-to-Branch connection is severed in any way, the Life-flow will be cut off and death will immediately flow in its place. Intimate union with the Vine, therefore, is essential, for without Him, we are nothing and can do nothing.
As Heidi Baker has said…
“How do we bear abundant fruit? How do we birth revival and see whole cultures transformed, and nations bow at the feet of Jesus? We can’t make revival happen. We cannot create it. We cannot force fruit to grow, just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself.
“The only way it’s able to bear fruit is by remaining in the vine. We cannot bear fruit that lasts unless we learn how to abide in Jesus. It’s as we worship Him and enjoy His love that He creates the fruit. We cannot create fruit, but we can live in intimacy! A tree produces fruit by simply abiding, not striving.
“Many of those who come to visit our ministry ask about our method and strategy for growing thousands of churches within a few years. My husband, Rolland, and I start laughing because we know that we cannot produce anything ourselves. We do not have a ten-point plan on how to bear fruit. Fruit only comes from the One who is altogether perfect! Our desire in life is to live inside of
the heart of Jesus and to love Him. We don’t love Him to get fruit, but fruit always flows when there is intimacy. When we abide in Jesus, the true vine, it just happens (John 15:1).
“Our goal is not to be the leading church growth movement on the planet. Our one desire is to be in love with Jesus, to love Him well and to abide in that love until it flows from us and touches every man, woman and child we meet each day. We are on the mission field primarily to learn how to love. That’s it. It’s so simple that it scares people. We don’t have anything else.” Quote taken from The Primacy of Love by Heidi Baker of Iris Global.
To Know Him
Moses carried a great burden, leading the children of Israel — all 2+ million of them — from Egypt to Canaan. And whenever he faced their complaints, murmurings or wickedness, his response was consistent: He (and Aaron) would fall on his faces in desperate dependance upon the Lord for help. This was his way of coping with the load he bore, impossible as it was without the aid of His Friend.
But that’s not all. Moses would also pitch his tend outside the camp where he would often meet with God and talk with Him face to face and “mouth to mouth” (directly) as a man relates to his friend (Num. 12:6-8, Amp). In fact, there was no one during that time who knew God like Moses did, who beheld “the form of the Lord” (Deut. 34:10; Num. 12:8). Yet, he knew that all he knew was “…the mere edges of His ways…” (Job 26:14), which is why he prayed, “…Show me now thy ways, that I may know thee…” (Ex. 33:13, ASV). With all he knew of God, Moses longed for MORE! He wasn’t satisfied to merely see God’s acts, as the children of Israel did every day (Ps. 103.7); neither was he content to just know about God intellectually or to recognize Him when He spoke or moved. Rather, he wanted to know why God did certain things the way He did them, how He did certain things, what His thought processes were, etc. Moses knew the Lord more than anyone else among the children of Israel but he wasn’t content. He wanted to know God more. He wanted to know Him better.
Today, there are some who share this desperation, who are being drawn into a deeper understanding of God’s ways. Their prayer is “…show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly]…” (Ex. 33:13, Amp) and He is answering. He is working the fullness of Himself into a chosen few who are giving up their lives for the One they love. His whole Person is being formed within them so that He may be endlessly known even as He knows.
Through dreams, visions and a variety of other mediums, the Lord is speaking, revealing His will and ways with increasing clarity, opening the ears of those whose hearts are after Him (Job 33:14-16). Their ears remain fixed before His lips, ever poised to hear His voice.
Many Christians love to quote First Corinthians 2:9 (Amp), which says…
“…What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]. [Isa. 64:4; 65:17.]”
But they too often fail to read the rest of what Paul wrote in verses 10-12…
“YET to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny].
“For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
“Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the Holy Spirit Who is from God [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and apprehend the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.”
In The Message, this passage reads,
“…No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it — what God has arranged for those who love him.
“BUT you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open…the Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.
“Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God — except that he not only knows what he’s thinking,
“But he lets us in on it…”
Too many believers focus on verse nine, yet fail to read on; they take one verse completely out of context and then argue for their limitations, focusing on what they can’t possibly understand, all the while neglecting the sum of God’s Word which is Truth (Ps. 119:160; Jn. 17:17). In this way, they limit the Holy One of Israel (Ps. 78:41) and sever themselves from from the benefits of verses 10-12.
But, there are some who are fearless enough to embrace the whole Word of God despite the traditions of men (Deut. 6:4-5; 2 Chron. 33:8; Ps 119:2; Acts 20:27; Eph 4:13). It is to this “little flock” God has chosen to give His Kingdom (Lk. 12:32, KJV).
Therefore, contrary to popular religious sentiment…
“…We Christians actually do have within us…the very thoughts and mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2:16, TLB
And, contrary to what you may have been told…
“…You have been anointed by […given an unction from] the Holy One and you… know all things… the anointing… which you have received from Him abides [permanently] in you… His anointing teaches you concerning everything and… so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].” 1 Jn. 2:20, 27, Amp
And, as Jesus said…
“I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you my friends, because I have made known to you everything that I heard from my Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.]” Jn. 15:15, Amp
The call to union with God is the call to friendship beyond any human definition of friendship, where He shares Himself with us as we give into the desire to share ourselves with Him. There are no secrets between true friends – only truth and transparency (1 Sam. 18:1-4). His love has broken down every dividing wall, every border, and every boundary, including the veil of His flesh, so that we can enter boldly into His heart (Heb. 10:20).
But here’s the clincher — Those who take this Journey will find that once they’ve entered into union with Him, they will be where they’ve always been. As Dr. Kelley Varner used to say, “The Christian life is nothing more or less than an ongoing awareness of where we already are, based on what He’s already done.” Of course, you may not feel like this is true — that you are already one with Him as the Father, Son and Spirit have always been one with one another and that you are already in Him and He is already in you — but this has nothing to do with your feelings.
The breakthrough many Christians are looking for will only happen to the degree that our minds are renewed by the Truth (Romans 12:1-2). The “big break” many Christians are looking for took place when Jesus rent the veil from top to bottom and said “It is finished.” The problem is that we need our minds rent from top to bottom in order to truly believe that He meant what He said. Only then will we begin to “…walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him.” (Col. 2:6, Amp)
But we have to change the way we think and the way we see ourselves in relationship to worship, prayer, intercession, daily life, work, etc. Old ways of thinking have to be replaced with the reality that comes from seeing from His perspective, based on His Finished Work.
No longer should we pray or worship as if we are reaching out to God, as if He is somehow distant from us and isn’t absolutely within us, as He is within Himself. No longer should we seek Him as if He is lost. He is in us and all around us at all times and has made Himself one with us, empowering us through our union with Him (Eph. 6:10, Amp). Our minds have to be aggressively and intentionally renovated by the Word of God in order to grasp this. Everything in us has to change the way it relates to Him so that we no longer pray or intercede to Him but with Him and ultimately as Him as those who are one with Him just as the head and body are one and work as one. Also, as we meditate upon the Word of God regarding our union with Him and allow our minds to adapt to this reality, we no longer work for Him or minister for Him or even serve Him. Instead, we begin to work, minister and serve with Him and ultimately as Him, just as the head and body are one and work as one co-operative unit, thereby replacing the hierarchal employer/employee, master/servant paradigm with the revolutionary reality of partnering with Him as co-heirs in the grace of life.
This also impacts your intimacy with Him. For instance, when you spend time with Him, know that He is already in you and with you. Then, rest in Him. Relax in Him. Lean into Him and let His Presence increase and manifest to you and upon you. Much of the distance we feel between us and the Lord is in our mind and doesn’t actually exist at all; again, the transformation we are looking for will only come through the transformation of our minds. So, wherever you are, turn your inward gaze upon Him and notice how He immediately responds. It’s much easier to enter in when you know how truly close He already is to you, that He is in you waiting on you to pause and acknowledge Him, at any moment, anywhere you are.
Only in this place will you find the rest, peace, joy, strength, wisdom, power and life you’ve been seeking.
Lean into Him. Cease from toiling and fighting for what He’s already given. Remember, “IT IS FINISHED.” Rest in this. Forget how you feel. Feelings deceive. Just rest. Lean on Him and walk with Him.
He’s waiting for you.