The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:22-23 (ESV)
When we operate on the basis of appearances, we can easily conclude that the forces that govern the world systems are not only hostile to our faith, but also insurmountable. We begin to feel overwhelmed by the blatancy of ideologies that deny or mock the God we know. Many believers have chosen to retreat from public society to try to survive in closed communities where the atmosphere is more easily controlled. Others never leave, but yearn for simpler days and a return of the old time religion of their fantasies. Some are motivated by their hope of a soon coming destruction that will finally give the wicked what they deserve. They long for an Armageddon where those who oppose us will get their come-uppance. And many simply become a part of the systems and don't even realize there is a tension. They just endure life at the level of reality that the world presents.
But Jesus prays for us to have a different perspective. Since he always prays according to the will of the Father, we can rest assured that this is what the Father is doing in us now. He wants us to represent him in such a way that the world will experience the love of the Father. The wicked are ignorant of this love. The reason people do evil things to creation and to each other is because all of us have fallen from the original love design of God the Father. Cut off from unconditional and unstoppable love we look for selfish contentment and control over our circumstances. If anyone or anything gets in the way of our quest, we will destroy it.
Wars are fought on many levels of society to prevent the worst of mankind from being in control. But even the conquerors have wickedness in them, and other wars will have to be waged to maintain some state of peaceful coexistence. Some claim that we should abolish wars because they never solve the problem. It is true wars never change people's hearts; they can't. All victory is temporary. The war that goes on inside the unloved man or woman will inevitably break out into conflict at some level. Unless checked, it will create larger and more destructive wars.
Jesus prays for the ultimate success of his mission. He prays that we as believers will be so conscious of our union with the Father and the Son that we will reflect the peace of being loved like the Son is loved by the Father. Loved people are not antsy for a fight with each other. Content with the Father's pleasure in them, they are free to give themselves for the benefit of others. It will be "loved people" who beat their spears into plowshares and pruning hooks.
There have been numerous attempts to create a form of unity among the body of Christ so that we could fulfill the prayer of Jesus. These ecumenical attempts are usually aimed at doctrinal and structural issues. Unity, however, will be evident when we are sure we are loved like the Father loves the Son. Those jockeying for position and manipulating to gain favor will be replaced by those who exult in the victory of the greatest war ever waged. Standing in that victory over sin, death, and hell, they will be able to confront the world with the hope of true peace.
People want to be loved, but they don't know they need it and don't know what it is. We have the advantage. We are not victims cowering in fear of wickedness. We are witnesses of a love that goes beyond human comprehension.