Written by Beth Bankert - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
Artist: Deana Harvey
“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38 NKJV).
I've been reading "The Christmas Story" in the Gospels as I do every year at this time. I have been infused, empowered, and encouraged with great hope and expectation for new things. The enemy has infiltrated our nation. Our lives, our homes, and our country need God’s love and the leading of the Holy Spirit like never before. It is much like it was in Bethlehem on that starry night when people were tired, grieved, and fearful.
But nine months before, a virgin called Mary said yes to God during a visitation by an angel, and the world would never be the same. Joseph had a dream, an angel spoke to him, and he awoke with a bold yes to God. Miles and miles away, Three Wise Men saw a star in the East declaring the birth of the King of the Jews, and they began a long journey after saying yes to God. Saying yes to God changes people, circumstances, and history. This is one time when saying yes brings no regrets. And the ultimate, utterly fantastic, and almost unbelievable yes to God was when a heavenly Jesus came humbly to our world as a flesh and blood baby and turned it upside down but right side up!
We all have daily opportunities of saying yes to God. But what stops us? Does fear of pain or loss of something dear? Or the uncertainty of what God might ask? This one thing I know and believe with all my heart: God will never, ever ask me to do something that is not in my best interest. It will always be something that will grow me to be more like Jesus and move closer to Him.
I'm not saying it will be easy to follow through on your yes to God. It wasn't easy for Mary, Joseph, The Three Wise Men, or Jesus. They sacrificed much. One, even His life. But think about after they followed through with their yeses. Mary gave birth to the Son of God and had the honor and privilege of raising Him. We still talk of her beautiful willingness today, two thousand years later. The same for Joseph. Imagine the conversation The Wise Men had on their trip home. Being able to bear gifts and bow down in worship before Him and participate in interrupting the plan of the enemy to kill our mighty King before He had a chance to lead. And when Jesus said, “Yes,” our world was lit up like fireworks in July. Darkness was overcome, true fellowship with our Holy God was made available, and so much more.
Saying yes to God, means saying no to everything that STOPS us from saying yes. The Kingdom of God needs men and women, who are ready and willing to say yes to God. Before the new year begins, will you pray and ask Father God what He is asking of you? Then meet with a trusted friend, pray, and do not let fear sway your answer. You won't forget or regret saying yes to God.
Father Tim, a character in Jan Karon’s Mitford Series books, started each day with this simple prayer, “Lord, make me a blessing to someone today.” Many times, that is exactly what God is asking of us. It is that simple.