Invite God to Use Your Life for Extraordinary Purpose
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2006 17 Mar
From a human perspective, Mary was just a simple peasant girl living a quiet, ordinary life. Yet God chose to bless her in an extraordinary way – picking her out of all women in all of history to raise the world’s Savior.
Mary found favor with God because of her obedient heart. And if your own heart is fully committed to God, you, too, can experience the thrill of God’s blessings. Just as He did with Mary, God wants to use your ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary purposes.
Here’s how Mary’s life can inspire you to live an obedient life that God will use:
* Don’t worry about your background. Be assured that God can use your life to accomplish great things no matter what type of background you have. Know that you don’t have to have a godly heritage like Mary did; God can and use you if you’re prepared to obey Him. Remember that God’s work in your life isn’t limited by your circumstances, but by the decisions you make. Decide to follow Mary’s example of trusting God in all aspects of your life, then expect Him to reveal His plans for you.
* Look for how God will work through your family. Be alert to ways God wants to pour out His love into your life through your family. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias encouraged Mary as she began her journey as Jesus’ earthly mother. Ask God to help you notice ways your own family members are supporting you, and take time to thank them. Show all members of your family unconditional love, remembering that – like Mary – your love will powerfully influence those closest to you (often in ways you’ll never know). Celebrate joys and grieve disappointments with your family. Try to point each other toward God along the way.
* Look for how God will work through your marriage. Remember that Mary couldn’t fulfill God’s plans without Joseph’s help. Work with your spouse to support and encourage each other as you each seek God’s revelation and follow where He leads. Be willing to adjust your lives so you can fulfill God’s purposes together in unity.
* Trust God’s timing. Realize that, just as God sent His Son to Mary on earth at precisely the right time in history, God will act at exactly the right time in your own life to accomplish His purposes. Remember that God’s activity in your life is never haphazard or accidental; it’s always purposeful and timely. Understand that God will set every detail in place to prepare for His work. Be patient as you wait for God to set His plans in motion. When you do sense God calling you to action, don’t procrastinate. Respond like Mary did when she heard God’s call – right away, with a sense of joy and awe at the privilege of being included in His plans.
* Embrace God’s favor. Recognize that any encounter with God is special and shows His favor toward you. Don’t allow feelings of inadequacy to keep you from embracing the blessings He wants to give you. Just as the angel Gabriel assured Mary that God would be with her, remember that God will be with you, giving you the power to do whatever He asks you to do. Know that if you obey Him with small tasks, He’ll trust you with larger assignments. View every task from God as a valuable opportunity to know Him in a deeper, more meaningful way. Thank God for choosing to use you, and ask Him to forgive you for the times you haven’t responded to His call in the past.
* Get ready for divine encounters. Prepare your heart to hear from to God, just as Mary did. Expect God to reach out to you in ways that are uniquely tailored to you, revealing something about His special plan for your life. Eagerly anticipate encounters with God. Learn to listen for His voice speaking to you through Scripture, circumstances, and in other ways that He might choose. Confess any sin that’s blocking your intimacy with God, and ask God to create a clean heart in you. Spend time regularly in prayer and reading God’s Word.
* Respond well to God. Rejoice whenever God reaches out to you! Try to respond like Mary did when she sang the “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55): with praise; remembrance of who God is; a sense of awe, fear, and trembling that He would come to you; humility that He has chosen to work in your life; thankfulness for what He has done and is going to do; and obedience to do and complete the mission He has assigned to you.
* Look for the bigger picture. Understand that, when God reveals something to you, He has a much bigger perspective in mind than what you can see from your limited human perspective. Know that He has eternity in mind. Just as Mary trusted God when she witnessed Jesus’ suffering on earth, decide to trust God in the midst of your own painful circumstances. Remember that God loves you and will work out His will for good in your life, no matter what the situation. Ask God to encourage you by opening your eyes to what He is doing in your life.
* Rely on God’s wisdom. Just as Mary trusted God to give her the wisdom she needed to raise Jesus on earth, you can trust God to help you make wise decisions in your own life. Understand that simply having biblical knowledge isn’t enough; you need to know how to apply that knowledge practically to your life. Pray often, asking the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom you need for each situation you encounter.
* Don’t cling to those you love. Realize that you need to be willing to let go of your loved ones when they should break away to follow God’s leading – just as Mary had to release Jesus to allow Him to obey His Father, no matter what the cost. Remember that your children and others you care for don’t belong to you; they ultimately belong to God. Give them the freedom they need to fulfill God’s purposes for their lives. Trust God to freely bring you all the companionship and support you need during all stages of your life, just as He provided John to take care of Mary after Jesus’ death. And, when you can help others in need, do so cheerfully.
* Remember what God has done. Just as Mary pondered the ways God had worked in her life and treasured them in her heart, you, too, can keep track of your encounters with God. Take time to write down answers to prayer and other times God worked in your life. Then take time to thank God for all He has done for you so far.
* Keep your mind positive and your heart pure. Despite all the pain she endured in her lifetime, Mary didn’t allow bitterness to poison her or interfere with her relationship with God. Confess whatever bitterness you have in your heart and ask God to renew your mind so you can think positively. Ask God to help you forgive others who have hurt you and pursue the healing you need to stay close to Him.
Adapted from Prepared to be God’s Vessel: How God Can Use an Obedient Life to Bless Others, copyright 2006 by Henry Blackaby and Carrie Blackaby Webb. Published by Nelson Books, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., 1-800-251-4000, www.nelsonbooks.com.
Henry Blackaby is the author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling Experiencing God Bible studies. Dr. Blackaby is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He has completed his Th. M. degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He has also received four honorary doctorate degrees and is now serving as the president of Henry Blackaby Ministries. Dr. Blackaby and his wife, Marilynn, have five married children, all serving in Christian ministry.
Carrie Blackaby Webb is the youngest child of Henry and Marilynn Blackaby. Carrie has worked on staff in several different churches in the areas of music and worship, children’s ministry, and youth work. She and her husband, Wendell, are currently serving as career missionaries in Germany, as team leaders and strategy coordinators for the Hochsauerland region. They have two children; Elizabeth and Joshua.