I am in between devotional series right now, so I decided to read the Christmas story in Luke. I read chapter 1 this morning. Before I started I asked God to show me something new. As always, He did right within these verses -
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. ~ Luke 1:30-38
Within EIGHT verses Mary is told (by an angel) that she is going to give birth to the Son of the Most High - as an engaged virgin, asked literally one clarification question the angel answered, and then fully submitted to the way of the Lord for her.
>>> 🤯 <<<
What grabbed my attention as I read was verse 30, "And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God." The question she asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” is NOT the question I would have been asking. My question would have been more like,
"How is it I've found with favor with God when what He's doing with me will cause me to lose favor with most people in my life?"
Joseph was not going to take this well, at least not initially. Her family would likely not understand. Culturally, she probably could've been stoned as it appeared she was unclean - not only giving herself away before marriage, but to someone that wasn't her fiance. She wasn't exactly set to be favored by man by submitting to this plan God had.
Aaaaaaand there it is. The 2x4 moment right in the middle of Luke 1.
Sometimes finding favor with God does not equate to finding favor with man, and that needs to be ok with us.
Sometimes walking in the ways God laid out for your life will equate to people not understanding, disagreeing, standing in opposition, even leaving.
Don't get me wrong, a loved one challenging you on things when it seems necessary is not a bad thing. Sometimes that's a really beneficial, healthy thing. But when God calls you to something, you should bend to no man's opinion.
Later in the day, during staff devotional time at church and completely independent of what I'd read this morning, someone brought up Israel and how nearly every nation opposes them right now. God's *favored* nation is being opposed by the majority of the world. Sound familiar?
I guess I never connected the dots that pleasing God may cost the approval of man, even when those people are those who were once walking right along with you in life. Without realizing it, I assumed that finding God's favor meant I would have man's favor, too. Especially those walking through life with me.
What a beautiful wake up call it was, though. What a release this can give us if we let it.
I want the heart of Mary in Luke 1. I want a heart that takes a moment and, without hesitation, accepts what the Lord seeks to do with her life - no matter who I lose favor with in the process. As Paul asked,
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:10
I encourage you to take a moment before Christmas and reread the Christmas story in Luke 1 & 2. Ask God to show you something new - He will!
Merry [almost] Christmas!