Will We Believe?
Churches around the world light an Advent candle illuminating a particular theme during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. This week’s theme is faith.
Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash. The season of Advent celebrates the coming of Christ; the Latin word adventus means “coming” or “arrival.” Churches around the world light an Advent candle illuminating a particular theme during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. This week’s theme is faith. This article is excerpted from RZIM’s new Advent devotional, Hope, Faith, Joy, Peace, Light. Click here to purchase.
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:38
“Amen.” A little word, forgettable almost. Often thought of as a sort of “spiritual full-stop” at the end of a Psalm or hymn—a signal that church is finished; it is time to go to sleep, or time to start eating! However, the word “Amen” is, perhaps, one of the most profound words in the Bible. “Amen” means yes. It means to come into agreement; to choose to join my heart and will to the heart and will of God.
In the Bible, we are told that agreement is a powerful thing. In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” There is something about agreeing with the promises of God and aligning ourselves with them that ushers untold blessing into our lives and into the world.
But it can be difficult, scary even, to choose to trust God and his promises to us. Often this is because of how deep our hopes and longings really are. It can be easier to stay cynical and doubtful. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we can withhold our trust in God in an attempt to protect ourselves from disappointment. One reason can be that beneath the bravado, we feel unworthy, for whatever reason, of the loving favor and blessing of God.
Mary could easily have felt this way. Mary was someone of low position. She was young; a woman in a man’s world, part of a conquered people, resident of a little-known town. How could it be that God wanted to bless her, honor her, favor her? Mary accurately assessed herself as someone of low status and esteem in the world’s eyes. She describes herself as such in her beautiful song, the Magnificat. And yet, it is Mary who teaches us that while all of that may be true, she is the Lord’s, and that changes everything. She says that her soul rejoices in God her savior because he is the God who has exalted those of “humble state” and “filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:47; 52-53).
All the way through the Bible, through people like Mary, we learn that there is no one that God does not see, no one He does not care about, no one that He does not want to bless abundantly. All the way through the Bible, we are shown that it is not by might, or power, but by God’s Spirit that his kingdom advances and his promises are fulfilled. No matter how impossible something might seem to us, by God’s Spirit, seemingly immovable mountains are leveled, nations are restored, and that which lies in ruins can be rebuilt.
Will we believe that God both wants to and is able to fulfill his promises? Will we believe that these promises are not just spoken to a few favored individuals, but that they are for all people—that they are for you and for me?
Will we believe that God both wants to and is able to fulfill his promises?
It is, of course, an incredible miracle and honor that Mary carried Jesus in her body. And yet the Bible tells us that each of us, like Mary, can say “yes” to carrying God’s word within us, that we can say “yes” to his promises to us. Colossians 3:16 gently urges us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (NKJV). Like Mary, we can treasure the promises of God, ponder them, believe them. No matter how impossible they may seem, no matter how lofty the promises, no matter how hard it may be for us to see how God might bring them to pass, this Christmas season, like Mary, we can hear the angel’s words echoing through history, “Nothing is impossible with God,” and choose to say, “Amen.”
Lara Buchanan is a speaker with the Zacharias Trust in the UK.
An RZIM Advent Devotional
Hope, Faith, Joy, Peace, Light
RZIM introduces a new Advent devotional featuring Ravi Zacharias and 34 members of the speaking and writing team. This 92-page, soft-cover book has 37 days of readings and Scripture verses.
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