Today’s message summary of April 29, 2018 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Sin can keep a believer from stopping pursuit of the Lord. When asked of the greatest commandment of loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37-40), we can all fall short.
In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come…Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and things were allowed to enter. Within the human heart things have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their heart, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk, stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.
–A. W. Tozer
According to A. W. Tozer, man was created to worship God, but man has altered that to reflect worship of not the Creator but the creature (Satan).
Are you preoccupied with things that can distract you from worship? This is essentially acts of disobedience, and it can take away from worshiping God for who He is and for what He means to us.
Mary’s life was redirected by God. She received the words from the angel and gladly accepted those words in obedience.
What Mary said in verse 38 points to three truths that each of us should practice and live to do each day:
These three truths are implicit in how Mary responded to the angel’s words.
Scripture defines our relationship with the Lord in different ways…sheep under the Great Shepherd…as co-laborers…as friends of God, and so on. These different descriptions help us to define your personal relationship with Jesus. Mary used one simple word to define her relationship with God as a female slave–a servant (in the positive sense). She was willing to submit herself to the Lord as she heard the angel’s proclamation.
If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children belong to her master, and the man must leave alone.
“But if the slave declares, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I do not want to leave as a free man,’ his master is to bring him to the judges and then bring him to the door or doorpost. His master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he will serve his master for life.
This demonstrates the willingness of a person who desires to serve a master in love. When we think of Mary, she desired to be obedient to the Lord, and she was giving a lot in this obedience. She was willing to submit to the Lord’s plan for her life, and it would change her forever.
Mary certainly had a right to say “no” to all of this, but she desired submission. She was willing to do whatever God required her to do. Her heart was submissive to the One who created her. She was humble. Humility is a channel of submission.
For anyone to be obedient to the Lord, he or she must first submit to Him in humility. It is a conscious surrender to submit on a daily basis. It is allowing God to be in control of your steering wheel instead of you doing the driving.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
To be a living sacrifice means to be allowed to be placed on the altar of God. A living sacrifice is devoted to serving the Lord no matter what may happen. This is a form of submission…to surrender our hearts, minds and bodies to Him.
In order to be obedient to Christ, you must submit. In order to submit, you are to deny yourself. All of these are necessary to allow for Jesus Christ’s complete work in you to take place.
How do we deny ourselves?
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after[a] me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it.
The cross was originally design as a torture device by the Romans to torture someone until they died an agonizing death. There was great suffering within this process.
Taking up your cross is to suffer for Jesus Christ. It is to deny yourself of those things that are our greatest attention-getters.
When Mary said, “let it be” or “may it be,” she was firmly dedicated to serve the Lord. This is what true self-denial looks like.
When things are not going as planned, it is hard for me to say the words, “let it be.”
Mary, finally, was obedient to the Lord. Submission and self-denial lead to obedience. Obedience naturally follows in this sequence.
When I see that Mary allowed herself to be used. Christ is the ultimate example of what it means to be submissive.
Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
Instead he emptied himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when he had come as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
Are you truly submissive to the Lord? Are you practicing self-denial? Are you obedient?
For those who do not know the Lord, I pray that you humble yourself and allow Him to speak with you. That is what leads to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let it be so, Lord.