Thursday, December 18, 2014

Accepting the Will of God and Surrendering 

 "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." Luke 1:38


Like many women, Mary probably had plans for her future. She'd probably thought out what her life might look like and had her own dreams. She was already a God fearing young lady and she knew that her future involved serving God, until the angel came and changed how that would be done. She is told what probably seemed impossible to her---that she would bear a child, God's son. She doesn't argue or willfully tell God no. Being human, she probably felt fear, uncertainty and maybe anxiety. Yet she still said "be it to me according to thy word."

Mary had trust, faith, and she had strong belief. Yet with the courage to put those into action, to surrender herself fully and totally to God's plan, she fulfilled His will for her. So many times by trying to control things and make well laid, detailed plans with little room for God, we are not leaving Him room to do His work in our lives because we somehow think we know better. As Christians we have to ask ourselves if, like Mary, we have fully surrendered to God's plans for us.

This is hard in a society where planning out a life is viewed as the only way to live. We plan how many children we will have, what house we will live in, what career will occupy our time, where we will go to college and many other facets of life. Somehow we feel secure with this, there is a plan in place and we know how it's going to go, or so we think! The truth is, surrender is scary for the human heart and mind that is programmed to think that control is the only way. Yet surrender equals freedom because we are allowing for the One who died to give us freedom from bondage---even if that means bondage to our own faulty plans. We each have two choices: live a life governed only by our own plans, or live a life ruled by our Heavenly Father.

"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." Luke 22:42

Surrender is allowing God to work His miracles, His plans and His word in our lives. His plans are always, always, better and wiser than ours. God's ways are not our ways. He does not need our control! He wants a surrendered and humbled heart.  "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Psalm 51:17  We don't have anything to fear in our surrender. While society around us may look at us as strangers and pilgrims, God sees our surrender as a loving Father does, and He takes care of us.

Mary wasn't given a life of earthly luxury for following God. She must have questioned riding on a donkey while nine months pregnant, barely finding a place to give birth in the humblest of circumstances, and having to flee to keep Jesus safe. Somehow through all the circumstances she faced, she knew God was in control, that He had a plan. She knew the ultimate treasure was God's plan, not hers, and she lived out her surrender to God in her daily life. Mary didn't look for the ultimate reward here in this earthly life. She didn't expect to be given a mansion to birth Jesus in, or the most comfortable luxury hotel room. Mary looked to her reward in heaven, and to the birth of the only King who can save mankind.

She trusted and she had a 'hearty' faith. She endured, she loved, she had joy, she surrendered. How many these days have this kind of steadfast, enduring faith? This Christmas, may we see Mary's faith, her courage, her surrender to her God as something to aspire to. Not well laid plans, not control, not presents, not money.  Truly letting God take over our lives to do His miraculous work, to make us anew, to wash away our sins and to embrace us as children of God.

"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49

“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven't yet come to the end of themselves. We're still trying to give orders, and interfering with God's work within us. ” -A.W. Tozer

“The greatness of the man's power is the measure of his surrender.” -William Booth

“No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His worker, only one thing will, and that is a personal relationship to Himself which has gone through the mill of His spring-cleaning until there is only one purpose left--I am here for God to send me where He will.”
-Oswald Chambers



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