Wonder … May It Be Unto Me …
This time of year not only brings a celebration of the birth of Jesus, it also takes me to the heart of Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. In Luke 1:30, the angel of the Lord said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Mary’s answer, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Over the past few months, the Lord has been teaching me about sacrifice. Not the sacrifice of animals on the altar of God, but the sacrifice of my will, desires, passions, and wishes, in exchange for His will. Any seasoned Christian will agree that a spiritual journey requires sacrifice. But God says that our obedience is better than sacrifice.
Obedience is Better
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. I Samuel 15:22
Why is obedience better than sacrifice? Because obedience IS the sacrifice – laying down our will for the will of God. I would be hiding my true emotions if I said sacrificing my self-will to walk in the ways of God is easy. There are things the Master asks of me that cause me to struggle, to search my heart, to rebel, and to desire running back to places of comfort that create distance from Him.
The Crux of Decision
Years ago, the Lord invited me to walk with Him into my path of destiny and purpose. My answer mirrored that of Mary found in Luke 1, “May it be to me as you have said.” I knew whatever God required of me would come with a price, but it was a price I was willing to pay.
Over time the walk became more difficult. There were stumbling blocks and enemy forces working to halt my progress. I cried, “Lord, I am weary.” He gave me a season of rest. Several times He prompted that it was time to move forward. But I did not want to leave my comfort zone, nor did I want to step back onto the road of destiny. Complacency put me in a holding pattern with my spiritual growth and purpose. Though my flesh embraced the stagnant and lazy spiritual state, my spirit longed to return to the road of obedience. An inner struggle between flesh and spirit ensued for a period of time.
One day the Lord interrupted my thoughts with a question, ‘Mary, are you ready to deal with me?’ He invited me to lay my will aside to walk with Him. It took a few hours of praying and grieving before I could say, “May it be to me as you have said.” And just as quickly as my self-will had shut down my spiritual progress, when I laid it down and took up HIS will, my spiritual pace picked up.
The Season of Wonder
Which brings me back to the wonder of the season of Christmas. In scripture, we don’t see Mary, the mother of Jesus, struggle with answering the call of God upon her life. We don’t see rebelliousness come forth nor do we see her trying to run away. Mary did not always understand the ways of God, but she treasured questions and events in her heart, continuing her journey in sacrificial obedience to God.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us look within our hearts to see if there is a sacrifice of obedience God is asking of us. He wants our heart above everything else, and when we surrender, He moves us forward in spiritual growth toward our passions and purpose. There we find satisfaction. The only one who can truly satisfy the human heart is the One who made it.