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Quiet, Courageous Obedience
By Jennifer Slattery
“‘I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:38
My pride routinely battles against me and my efforts to live for Jesus. I don’t often put myself in a servant’s position. I’m even more diligent to avoid situations that might make me look bad. In Bible study, I’m reluctant to ask a question I think everyone else knows the answer to. I’m tempted to avoid opportunities I feel ill-equipped for, and I certainly don’t want to invite judgment and ridicule from family and friends.
Humans worldwide have a driving desire to “save face.” In fact, in some countries, people are shunned or even killed for harming the family’s honor.
Considering this, I can’t help but wonder about the emotional strain Mary’s condition must’ve cost her family and herself. She was a young, unwed mother, with child. Living in a small, rural village where everyone likely knew everyone’s business, what kind of whispers and haughty looks did she endure each day?
“She claims the Holy Spirit impregnated her. A likely story!”
“Who’s child do you think she carries?”
“Did you see the way she talked with Bartholomew the other day? You don’t think …”
Mary risked a lot when she told God’s angel, “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38, NIV).
And notice, she didn’t ask for any guarantees or qualifiers: “I’ll obey, so long as my parents believe me” or “… my friends will stand beside me.” Or, “I’ll carry this child, if only you promise my fiancé won’t come to hate me.”
If you’ve read the story, you know the angel visited Mary’s fiancé also, but this was after Mary had told him. Joseph initially determined to end their relationships.
Knowing all her obedience could cost Mary said yes to God anyway, and in doing so, this quiet teenage girl demonstrated courageous, selfless obedience.
This Christmas, how might God be calling us to do the same?
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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