TITLE: Mary, A Woman of Character, Part II
By Teresa Schultz
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This is the second part of my study on the characteristics that made Mary so usable by God. The first one was purity - purity of body, mind, soul and spirit. The second one is obedience.
Luke 1: 29-38 says, “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel 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."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
“I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.”
When the angel came to Mary, there are many things she could have said or wondered. She could have thought, “What if Joseph leaves me?”, or “What will people say?” "What will my family do?” “People will think I’m crazy if I tell them what really happened.”, or “I don’t want to go through all of the pain that accompanies this blessing.” But instead she chose to willingly obey God, not even knowing the full extent of what was going to come to pass. “I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said.” WOW…now that’s obedience!
In I Samuel 15:22, God tell us that “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Our obedience means so much to God. Why? Because true obedience comes from true love for God. Jesus said in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and OBEYS them, he is the one who LOVES ME.” When you really love someone, all you want to do is please them!!
Obedience is not easy!! How do we find strength to obey? The same way Jesus did when He needed strength to be obedient (to the cross). Even Jesus struggled with weariness, sorrow and doubt. So He PRAYED. He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed (ultimately) for God’s will to be done. (Matthew 26:36-45). Many times obedience will lead to suffering, but when that suffering is over… JOY COMES IN THE MORNING. Hebrews 5:7-9 says, “During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”. That scripture goes on the say He is our High Priest. Because He suffered through His obedience to pay the ultimate price for us, He understands what we are going through. We can come to Him with any problem because He understands our human sufferings. If Christ was willing to be obedient, even unto death, then we, as His followers, need to have that same kind of obedience. As we can see from Jesus’ and Mary’s examples, the rewards for obedience are great and being obedient is the utmost form of honor and love to God.
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