Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, November 30, 2015
Self-esteem is a vibrant topic these days. Psychologists, social workers, teachers, and others counsel patients, families, students, and others in the value of increasing their self-esteem. At some point in our life, each of us deals with issues regarding or self-esteem and struggles to increase it, especially if we are not part of the “in crowd” or if circumstances put us in a low societal position. However, we learn from the story of Mary, mother of Jesus, how being highly favored in God’s eyes comes with a price.
Mary had no advance warning about the events that would befall her. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, an angel of the LORD appeared to her. Scripture is silent regarding her precise activities at the time, but the angel surprised her with a laudatory salutation, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The LORD is with you.” This encouraging message was meant to raise Mary’s self-esteem, for she came from a poor family and had need of strong encouragement.
As much as we all desire validation by our family and friends, a person is more blessed to be congratulated by a Heavenly messenger. After all, with Heavenly notice comes the expectation of great news, not news of this world but from the Heavens above. Little did Mary know that she had been chosen as the mother of our Messiah, Christ Jesus. This was an honor for all time, placing her above Eve, the mother of all those who have lived or are now living. You can’t be more highly favored than that.
Translation of the Latin text indicates that Mary was “full of grace”, blessed with more of the inherent graces of the Spirit than anyone before her. God had bestowed on her the singular favor of being the preferred one to conceive and bear our precious Savior. She had the presence of God with her, for the angel said, “The LORD is with you.” With this encouraging word, Mary knew there was nothing to despair, even though the service to be performed would place her in precarious circumstances. Because we have God with us, no power can wrest us from His will.
The implications were staggering. Not only would she be blessed among women, she would be blessed among men. This was an especially radical situation in the society of her day, yet this is where God put her. But it was not just a temporary blessing to be enjoyed during here generation or her lifetime, she was to be called blessed by “all generations” (Luke 1:48). This puts Mary far ahead of other women who were favored such as Jael, about whom Deborah said, “Blessed shall she be above women in the tent” (Judges 5:24).
Despite her glorification, Mary was filled with consternation. She was troubled at the sight of the angel as well as the words he said to her. Had she been a proud or ambitious young woman, she would have been glad, even eager, to have her self-esteem puffed up and to be expectant of the great things she might receive in this world. She was, however, a woman of good sense. The angel’s message actually confused and confounded her, causing her to engage in a rapid process of self-assessment. Why should I receive such a promise? What merit do I have to deserve a promise of such great things? Was this message from Heaven or from men? Was this proclamation intended to amuse her or trick her?
Many of us would have simply accepted the accolades and looked to the future with glee and with pride, but not Mary. Her thoughtfulness and humbleness on this occasion should be an inspiration to us all. Mary shows us the normal way to react to God’s exaltation of us. We are to question why He would choose us and to remember the exaltation is for His benefit and glory, not ours.
As children of Eve, we should all consider ourselves as highly favored. Whereas Mary will always retain her special place in God’s plan of salvation, we are all highly favored by virtue of God’s invitation to participate. Our salvation is sure and secure thanks to the promises of God and the work of our Savior Jesus Christ. Those who accept Christ as LORD and Savior are highly favored for eternity, those who do not shall perish. Which choice will you make?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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