Put yourself for just a moment into the thinking and feeling of teenaged Mary. Forget we know everything turns out all right. Forget she becomes respected. Forget she has the privilege of birthing and loving the human Son of God. Forget she is protected by God through a godly man who believes the angel. Forget all that. But don’t forget she was in mortal danger.
She was living in the present danger, facing people hating her, misunderstanding her, planning her death. How in the world would you respond to the angel? What would you believe about such a God with a crazy, dangerous plan? The Scriptures she had heard from her parents and other adults her whole life talked about a victorious, conquering King. At least that’s what the scribes and Pharisees taught. Certainly not about the Messiah coming as a human baby by a teenaged girl.
No way! Count me out! But we know she didn’t say that.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said,
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:26-33
After a few assurances, Mary submits.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her Luke 1:38.
Mary heads to her cousins’ house, Elizabeth and Zechariah. Elizabeth also assures Mary she is carrying the Christ child.
And Mary says,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55
That’s being struck with awe for God’s glory.
Use Mary’s descriptions of God to built a list of who he is. Do you see how God is mighty, does great things, is holy, merciful, strong, scatters the proud… well, I’ll let you do your homework. And please let me know in the comment section which of those awesome qualities is most important to you, especially at this special time of year.
This is an excerpt from my new book, Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. It’s from the chapter “Struck with Awe.” When we are struck with awe at God’s attributes, we will respond in greater trust and give God glory. In fact, we can be motivated by wanting God’s glory as a means of having purer motives.
My passion in Pure-Hearted is for women to know it is possible to have a purer passion for serving God and respond with greater godliness as a result. TWEET THAT!!!!
Do you desire to bring glory to God yet wonder if your motives are muddied by fear, selflessness, and immaturity? Even when you’re empowered by the Lord to represent him well, do you wonder if your success has made it all about you?
Pure-Hearted will inspire you to focus on desiring God’s glory and enjoy the benefits without guilt—benefits like seflessness, security, satisfaction, surrender, stability and self-control, along with others.
Filled with biblical principles, practical instruction, and motivational stories, Pure Hearted is written for women. Every chapter includes a profile of a biblical woman along with discussion questions for groups or individuals.