Faithfulness is a lost art in our culture of instant gratification. The same desires that make us impatient to get what we want when we want it cause us to give up on people when we find ourselves facing friction, conflict, and an inevitable struggle.
But what would happen if we, like Mary, determined to be faithful, to be devoted, through thick and thin, through good and bad. Much like the vows we make when we enter into a marriage covenant, God calls us to a deep and committed to relationship with Him. And while His faithfulness is never-ending, ours is fickle. That is why we must make great effort to be devoted to Christ not just when life is good and following Him is easy, but when life is overwhelming and giving up is easy.
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him." -James 1:12
Anyone here struggle with control? I know I do! Another amazing thing about Mary is that she was a trusting woman. She trusted God not only to work in her own life, but also in the lives of those around her. Even after Joseph decided to divorce her, Mary trusted God and waited for Him to intervene rather than taking matters into her own hands, becoming manipulative, obsessive, or controlling. Rather than trying to force those around us to believe God, we must each surrender and trust God to work. If God said it, He will do it! His way, in His timing. Let's have the faith to wait.
Luke 1:46-55 records for us Mary's beautiful prayer of thanksgiving to God. In it, she referenced Old Testament scriptures and stories more than a dozen times! This is striking when you consider that Mary was uneducated and likely illiterate. She was not able to read the Scriptures for herself - rather, she listened. And it's obvious that she listened intently, hiding the words of Scripture in her heart.
If we want to be godly women who can be used God, we must never underestimate the value of God's Word in our lives. Not only do the Scriptures convict us, encourage us, and direct us - they also equip us to pour into the lives of those around us. The more we know the Word of God, the more we can share the word of God.
If you need to make a fresh commitment to the Word of God, here are some easy steps to get you started:
Hello There! So sorry for my long absence... much of my summer has been spent wedding planning! Cameron and I were married on September 29th in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by our closest family and friends. We are so thankful! But I'll be sharing more about that later.
For now, I'm super excited to be launching a brand new video devotional series! For the next month, I'll be posting videos every Tuesday and Thursday where we'll dig deep into the life of Mary of Nazareth, an ordinary woman used by an extraordinary God! This series is based off the booklet by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth titled "A Portrait of a Woman Used by God."
Here's today's video:
Mary - An Available Woman
Correction: The missionaries were John and Betty Stam.
Share your thoughts and comments below; I look forward to hearing from you and hope you'll come back for our next devotional on Thursday!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
I find myself continually affected by the incredibly obvious truth in this passage. There's certainly quite a lot of truth in the passage, but what most continues to convict and excite me is the simplest line -- "let us throw off everything that hinders."
Interesting, is it not, that sin is addressed separately? That there are things that hinder us, which we must lay aside, that aren't even sin? Though, depending on how we treat the things that hinder us, they can quickly become sin through idolatry.
It's a simple question of priority.
If my priority, if my goal, is to not just finish the race, but to win the race, why would I hesitate to make whatever adjustments necessary to do so?
Some things must be sacrificed for the greater goal of victory.
In the grand scheme of things, is there really anything worth holding on to? I think not.
How wonderful to be able to have the freedom to run to Jesus completely unhindered!
The consequence of all these things would be to block the work of God in your heart and in your home and in your church. You cannot afford to do it. Time is too short. Judgment is too certain. Eternity is too long. God is too wonderful, and Christ is too beautiful, and Heaven is too glorious for us to allow anything in our lives to hold us back from winning the race of life.
-A. W. Tozer
In a word: passionate.