December 16, 2013
You are Highly Favored
Greetings, you who are highly favored! (Luke 1:28, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I hope you enjoyed my retelling of Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel in my last devotion. I want to continue looking at Mary over the next couple of weeks. We can learn so much what to do when God calls us center stage from this woman who said “yes” to Him.
Gabriel and Mary. What an amazing encounter for a girl so young. God’s plan of redemption was held by the thread of a teenage girl from Nazareth. Who knew it would be so strong.
We don’t know exactly how old Mary was at the time of Gabriel’s proclamation. Commentaries have suggested anywhere between thirteen and sixteen—marrying age during those days.
Nazareth was considered an insignificant town, yet God chose it for a significant role. Likewise, Mary was a seemingly insignificant girl, yet God used her in significant ways. Her selfless surrender serves as an example of the impact obedience to God’s call can have on our lives and on the lives of others as well.
Just after Adam and Eve sinned and ate the forbidden fruit, God announced that the offspring of a woman would eventually crush the serpent’s head (Satan). All along, it was God’s redemptive plan for the Savior of the world to be born of a woman. He certainly didn’t have to do it that way, but He chose to use a woman in the unfolding of salvation’s plan.
But why Mary? Why that particular girl? What was it about her that caused God to choose her?
We will never know all the answers to those questions, but we can get a glimpse into God’s heart by looking closely at the word “favored.”
Gabriel greeted Mary by saying she was “highly favored.” When we look at this word, we realize that the choice had little to do with Mary and everything to do with God. The word “favor” is the Greek word charis which is where we get the word “grace.” Grace is unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor from God. It is a gift we don’t earn or deserve, but are given simply because God wants to give it.
The Bible says that we are chosen by grace (Romans 11:5-6), saved by grace (Romans 3:24), and given spiritual gifts by grace (Romans 12:6). Paul says that God “lavishes” his grace on us (Ephesians 1:7-8). Don’t you just love that! He doesn’t dole out a teaspoon here and there, but He pours out his favor on us—bathes us in His grace.
Why was Mary chosen? The same reason you and I were chosen to be His children. Because of His grace. We are not saved because we deserve it. She was not chosen because she deserved it. She was chosen because God’s grace was with her.
Dear Lord, amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Thank You for Your grace that gives me blessings I don’t deserve, and Your mercy that doesn’t give me the punishment I do deserve. Lord, thank You for working through ordinary men and women like me. Help me not to deify mere humans, but always give You the glory for working through them.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How have you seen God do mighty work through ordinary people? Think of 5 ordinary people in the Bible who were called to extraordinary tasks.
Now think of 5 ordinary people in your life who have been called to extraordinary tasks.
Click over to my Facebook page and tell me at least one of them.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance Through the Women Jesus Encountered. This book goes through every encounter Jesus had with a woman in the New Testament, and shows how He broke a rule every time, just to show them they mattered…to show you that you matter. He risked his reputation to save theirs. Read their encounters and see yourself through Jesus’ eyes.
And just in time to start the New Year off right, my book Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe: A Daily Guide to Scripture-Based Prayer is now available. Click on the title to watch a video or read a sample chapter.
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