“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38 (NIV)
I was reading two separate devotions during this Christmas season which took the viewpoint of what Joseph and Mary might have been thinking when given such a huge assignment. What were they really thinking? The devotions took the reader through various scenarios for each of them, from Joseph feeling like he failed both his new wife and his Heavenly Father by not being able to find an inn to stay at and instead of offering her at least a warm bed, he only had a smelly stable for her comfort. Mary thinking she would be surrounded by her relatives and family when she gave birth, when the reality that faced her was her new husband, a bunch of stinky animals and later some less-than-hygienic shepherds.
Whether or not those thoughts crossed their minds or they stayed focused on the goal of Christ’s birth, it’s safe to say they both had a choice… and they chose wisely. They chose to obey. Obedience to marry Mary and choose to raise Jesus as his own son, all while knowing he really wasn’t a blood relative. Obedience to carry the Christ child for nine months and then tenderly care for him throughout his childhood years, teaching him about her Heavenly Father, when in fact Jesus’ knew Him much more intimately than she ever could this side of Heaven.
Obedience from Jesus – following God’s command to come down to earth, taking on human form and living for 33 years among us so that He could experience our world, only to know the entire time He was going to die a horrific death; yet loving His Father and us so much He was more than willing to obey, paying the ultimate price.
I’ve been struggling with fasting. God impressed it upon my heart to fast for 90 days this fall – through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas – through the New Year. My fasting period ends January 27th. I’m not sure why I thought fasting would be easy during the holidays… and I’m failing miserably. However, when I sit and write these words, I think how selfish I am that I can’t give God some, not even all, of my food for 90 days when He gave the ultimate gift, His Son, my salvation, for me.
Our acts of obedience may seem trivial when compared to the obedience of Joseph, Mary and ultimately Jesus Himself; but to God, when we willingly choose to obey what God asks of us specifically, we please Him.
God doesn’t ask everyone to be David or Moses or Noah or Mary. We aren’t all asked to kill a giant with a stone, lead rebellious people for 40 years in the desert, build an ark or give birth to the Christ child. However, at some point in our lives God will ask us to obey in an area that may be difficult. It’s our choice whether or not we will obey, even imperfectly, or flat out refuse.
Maybe God asked me to fast for 90 days during the holidays for more than one reason. Maybe He wanted to open my eyes to the ultimate act of obedience that Christ chose so that I may have life in Heaven with Him for eternity. That definitely puts passing up a donut or the annual sticky buns into perspective.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016