And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38 (ESV)
This post is in continuation to the previous posts on this blog, We are just starting to understand the fruit of the spirit, The first three traits of the fruit of the spirit is expressed in our relationship with God, the first of which is Love. Love towards God is best expressed in sacrificial worship, where we love God above everything else. God’s expression of love towards us is so much that it demands an all exclusive, all sacrificing kind of love from us. Another key thing that accompanies love is obedience and submission. Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 ESV) We can sing and write 1000s of love and worship songs for God, but if it does not come from a submissive and obedient heart our lives are just as useless as an unbeliever’s! The reason being that Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21 ESV) Disobedience to God’s word and resistance towards his will can cost us eternal life! It is as simple and clear as that.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with a word from God, at once she asked him about its possibility and practicality. When Gabriel told her that all things are possible with God, she replied “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” While saying yes to this whole deal with God, she did not think for once of the dire consequences she might have to face from her family, fiancée or even the male dominated society of her time. That kind of a submissive obedience stuns me. Prosperity theologians teach of all good things following them who obey God. That’s not generally true. The prophets of old who obeyed God were all persecuted and never had a comfortable life. It is very easy to obey God, when life is comfortable and people praise you for what you are doing. But Mary yielded to God with no fear of what people might think. Any man trying to please men, cannot be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10) I have a friend who is called by the Lord into the ministry, but then he didn’t want to say a yes due to his personal and very much justifiable reasons. Every time he spoke to me, I just reminded him of Matthew 7:21. When you call Jesus as your Lord, you are indeed saying that you are his servant. The root word used for servant in Luke 1:38 is ‘doulē’ which literally means ‘female slave’. A slave has no right to say yes or no to his master’s business. Yes we are his children, we are his sons. Yet we should carry the attitude of a servant just like Jesus did. (Phil 2:5-7)
I have heard the story of David Livingstone searching his bible for something a few weeks before his death. Couple of young men, who were around asked him if he needs help in trying to find a particular verse or incident in the bible. Mr. Livingstone replies “I am just reading through all the commandments of the Lord, I want to see if there is anything in there that I missed out on obeying.” We all love to read the word, but how many of us delight in obeying it to the core. I know of people who are waiting for angelic visitations like Mary experienced, to say yes to the will of God in their lives. Yes, its true that God at times speaks through supernatural sources. But at times he chooses to speak through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit or the word of God. We need to be alert and attentive enough to hear him speak to us from or through any sources. Just being attentive is not enough, it also requires us to be obedient. People usually like to go to conferences and meetings and keep on learning. But most of them, hardly take efforts to put into practice what they have already learned. At times the reason why we are prone to attacks from the devil, is cause of lack of obedience and submission to God. James 4:7 says Submit to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Most of us love to resist the devil and to see him fleeing, but very few of us enjoy submitting completely to God. As long as you are not completely submitted, you are not completely protected!!
May I ask you to consider for a moment the level of obedience and submission to God in your life? Have you ever prayed like Mary prayed, “Behold, I am your servant, let it be to me according to your word” When you pray that prayer you might not even be sure of the logical outworking of everything that God expects from you. But you pray it with complete trust in God’s will and plan for your life. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)