“According to Your Word”

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A must-read article about living in faith, based on Mary's life. Her response to the unexpected was, "Let it be done to me according to your word." http://adivineencounter.com/according-to-your-word

My Christmas tree is still standing tall, the ornaments placed so lovingly last month still clinging to its branches. Candles still wink at me from my windows. My decades-old hand-carved nativity from Israel is still sitting humbly atop my dining room table.

But alas, Christmas has come and gone.

Still, so many “Christmas” lessons aren’t about Christmas at all, are they? They’re about LIFE.

Consider with me a statement made by Mary, mother of Jesus. When Mary was told by the angel that she, a virgin, would give birth to the Son of God, here was her simple response:

“I am the Lord’s slave…May it be done to me according to your word.”

What a profound declaration. These are the words of a young woman who understood that she didn’t have any right to call the shots. She knew that she belonged to Someone Else. Just as a slave in that day awakened each morning with no agenda of her own, but was instead ready to do her master’s bidding, Mary willingly made her Lord’s agenda her utmost priority. 

She had no “master plan”…only her Master’s plan.

Like a fallen leaf sitting atop the grass, ready and willing to be swept wherever the divine winds happened to blow.

At whatever speed.

In whatever direction.

To whatever height.

And likewise, willing to stop whenever the divine winds happened to stop.

And willing to have her course changed at a moment’s notice.

Yes, Mary knew well her Jewish heritage of being owned by God.

I wonder how well I know mine?

“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

You see, I used to belong to the prince of this world, Satan himself. I walked in darkness. I loved the world and the things in the world. I fell short of the glory of God, choosing sin time after time. Satan owned me.

But God loved me too much to allow me to remain under Satan’s ownership. And He wanted the glory that was rightly due Him…glory I was not giving Him in my sinful state. Glory that pours forth from the lips of redeemed people proclaiming a song of praise for the Redeemer. So He purchased me back, paying for me with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. That is the “price” with which I was bought.

I am, in fact, a woman “for His own possession.” Once I had no identity at all, but now I belong to God. (I Peter 2:9-10)

Sometimes belonging feels warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it? It feels like comfort and peace and family and having a place and being loved.

But belonging also means ownership.

Yes, I am owned by God no less than Mary was. In fact, I wonder if God’s ownership of believers today is even weightier. After all, Hebrews 10 tells us that the covenant of the law, under which the Jews were His chosen people, is but a shadow of the one through which “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

And so I must realize that Mary’s response isn’t just admirable and praiseworthy and noble.

Mary’s response is the only right response. It’s the reasonable and appropriate and obvious response, if our Master is really…our Master.

But it’s still hard, isn’t it? So how did Mary do it? What brought her to the place of responding rightly to the unexpected?

First, we can see that she was God-oriented. The angel’s message to Mary brought huge ramifications for her life. But we never see her putting her agenda ahead of God’s. Her words in Luke 1 are full of praise for her God, Who was clearly the center of her life.

Second, she was Scripture-focused. Her song in Luke 1:46-55 clearly reflects her thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. She accurately describes God’s character as depicted in the Old Testament, which reveals to us that she was intimately familiar with God’s Word.

Finally, she was faith-filled. Because Mary knew the Scriptures and knew the God of the Scriptures, she had the utmost faith in Him. She never disbelieved the angel’s announcement. She asked how it would happen, but never doubted that it would happen. And she knew her God was trustworthy, faithful, and good — even in the unexpected.

As I contemplate this past year, I regret that I didn’t always respond immediately like Mary when faced with the unexpected. How I wish I had!

Constant delays in our plans to be foster parents? We are the Lord’s slaves…May it be done to us according to Your word.

Troubled relationships, Lord? I am the Lord’s slave…May it be done to me according to Your word.

More ministry responsibilities, Father? I am the Lord’s slave…May it be done to me according to Your word.

Betrayal from those we trusted? We are the Lord’s slaves…May it be done to us according to Your word.

Months of unemployment, God? We are the Lord’s slaves…May it be done to us according to Your word.

A cancer diagnosis? We are the Lord’s slaves…May it be done to us according to Your word.

I don’t know what events are awaiting us in the upcoming year. I don’t even want to guess. After a year overflowing with the unexpected, it would be foolish to try.

But it’s likely there will be a lot of mundane…and perhaps some extraordinary. Probably some exciting…possibly some devastating. Much that is routine…some that is unexpected. But in all this and every other circumstance, I am devoted to knowing the Scriptures better, so I can know my God better.

Because if I do, my response will always echo Mary’s. 

I AM THE LORD’S SLAVE…

MAY IT BE DONE TO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD.

~~

It would encourage me and my readers to hear your thoughts about following our Master. Please take a moment and share below.

A must-read article about living in faith, based on Mary's life. Her response to the unexpected was, "Let it be done to me according to your word." http://adivineencounter.com/according-to-your-word

Written by Jennifer Clarke

 

Want more encouragement in your Christian walk?

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11 thoughts on ““According to Your Word”

  1. Alisha

    Wow! That was so pointed and amazing…and CONVICTING!!! Here I am waking early and wasting time playing Words With Friends when I should be spending these precious moments with my God. I haven’t had a quiet time in over one year. It’s shameful to admit it. Sure, I’ve listened to sermons and even one of my favorite Theologians, Chuck Missler dissect and expound upon Scripture, but it’s not the same as spending one on one time pouring my heart out to My God and letting Him pour His heart into me.

    I am a planner, otherwise known as a control-freak. I can handle change pretty well, but only if they are changes that fall within a certain perimeter. I don’t know if I could handle the change of losing my husband or one of my children or the life we so comfortably live. I don’t know, but God does. I definitely need to spend time resting in Him so that when the storm comes I can take comfort in knowing that The One who controls the wind and the waves is riding them with me.

    I am the Lord’s slave…Let it be done to me according to your word.

    I pray that this is my heart’s response at any and all times.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      You’re so right, Alisha…there really is nothing that can replace one-on-one time with the Lord. It’s easy to neglect, though. Life is busy, and the people we’re caring for have needs, and all too often, quiet time with the Lord doesn’t seem “productive” enough. But God is teaching me slowly but surely that my time with Him isn’t just productive. It’s essential. It’s the whole reason I’m here in the first place! To neglect it is to neglect my very reason for being. Thank you for your honesty, and for your soft heart. I know our God is and will continue to do wonderful things in and through you!

      Reply
  2. Marmie

    Jennifer, this is great, I do not do well with change, I pray I would have the stedfastness and faith that you and JR have shown to Papa and I threw the unknown. I too, pray that I will always keep in mind I AM the Lord’s slave. As I wipe the tears from my eyes, thinking of what your family has experienced in 2013, I think of the song “Never Once”, and the words, “Scars and struggles on the way but with joy our hearts can say, never once did we ever walk alone. You are faithful, God, You are faithful.” I know the Lord’s hands are upon you, J.R. and the children.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Hi, Marmie! That song has been very meaningful to me this year — I can’t sing it or listen to it without crying tears of joy and gratitude that I’ve actually gotten to experience the truth of that song. It hasn’t been an easy year for us, and I would imagine it has also been hard for those we love. But when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I mean that from the bottom of my heart, because being able to experience His faithfulness, His provision, and His presence for ourselves has been beyond worth it. Thank you so much for reading, and for taking the time to share your heart. Love you!

      Reply
  3. biscuitfeatures

    Everyone seems to agree – 2013 was a big, chaotic year! And certainly it was for us. By September, I was nearly going insane wondering how so much could happen, one thing after another after another.

    The thing that stands out most in your post is how calm Mary was when she accepted the angel’s command. She didn’t question it, she didn’t complain that it was too much for one person to deal with. Like she trusted innately that God would help her through the challenge he was setting.

    I want to accept the challenge of going into this new year with Mary’s calm serenity. I want to face things without asking why, just “how” 🙂

    Reply
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