Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me according to your word.”

     This was Mary’s response to the angel that told her that she was going to have a child even though she had never known a man.  In that brief interchange with the angel, Mary must have heard that her life was going to change irrevocably.  She was betrothed to Joseph and had a good reputation.  With this ‘news’ her standing among her people would be damaged.  Her life would never be the way she had imagined it.  Her life would never be the same and she knew it.  Her life was to be His way not her way!  Yet she accepted God’s Word with grace and willingness.

     Mathew Henry points out; “Mary’s reply to the angel was the language of faith and humble admiration, and she asked no sign for the confirming her faith.”  In this commentary we are guided into the same attitude of faith; “And we must, as Mary here, guide our desires by the word of God. In all conflicts, let us remember that with God nothing is impossible; and as we read and hear his promises, let us turn them into prayers, Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.” (Ibid)

     God looks for this attitude in His servants.  Sometimes we come up short.  Zechariah did.  When Gabriel told him that his wife Elizabeth would have a baby in her golden years, Zechariah doubted; “And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”  (Luke 1:18)  He wanted proof.  John Wesley observes; “In how different a spirit did the blessed virgin say, How shall this be? Zacharias disbelieved the fact: Mary had no doubt of the thing; but only inquired concerning the manner of it.”

     Jesus when facing the terrible reality of His  sacrifice demonstrated the struggle we all have with our attitude;   “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  (Matthew 26:39)  Could we  facing the loss of our life, say the same?  “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”  (Hebrews 12:3,4)

     It’s all in the attitude.  Alcoholics confronting the terrible reality of their disease of addiction came to the same discovery; “Selfishness – self centeredness! That we think, is the root of our troubles.”  We find self centeredness at the root of the human dilemma.  To be truly free you have to give it up but to give it up is a kind of dying that is immediate and scary.  Like dying physically, you can’t see beyond it or through it.  We are hard wired to be afraid of the dark.  It is never so dark as when we have our eyes tightly shut hanging on to what we want – what we think will keep us safe and secure, all the while poised blindly over a precipice of the unknown;  Never seeing Jesus, ready to help and hold us.

     Stepping out of our self-centredness and into God’s will demands faith.  The journey of faith isn’t made in huge leaps.  Rather, for guys like me and perhaps you, faith is a series of small halting steps, stumbling while going forward.  We practice walking in faith;  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)  Repent of your stumbles.  Let the Holy Spirit guide your next step.  Paul said; “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

    Yet Jesus told us; “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  (Matthew 16:25)  Like the alcoholic we all must turn our lives and will over to God.  Mary did.  Jesus did.

     Praise the Lord!