Surrender and Submit
Christmas reminds us of God's greatest gift, Jesus Christ our Messiah.
God loves us so much, he sent His only son to come to Earth, surrender His
reign so to take on the flesh of man and become vulnerable to man's injustices.
Christ had to surrender and submit to the will of His father in order to accomplish His designated purpose, to be the ultimate sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. I mean, in God's design, the only way for Him to give mercy on us was to have love expressed in such a way as sacrificial giving. Christ not only loved His father, but us as well, yes even you and me.
Well, preceding Christ's birth, there were two people who had decided to express their love for God through the act of surrender and submission. An act that would cost them right to themselves through the sacrifice of self.
Think of Mary. As I read the story of Christ's birth being foretold, Gabriel came to Mary said that she was favored by God and told her that God wanted her to conceive a son and name him Jesus. Think about this for a minute. You are minding your business, doing what ever and all the sudden Gabriel shows up and tells you that you are favored by God and he wants you to be His son's mother. Can you imagine how she felt just with the presence of Gabriel? After all, this was probably not an ever day occurrence for her. Not only was that enough, but to be called by God? Me? Are you talking to me? Really? I am just me. Then she could have thought...What an inconvenience! How would she tell Joseph? What would he think? Would he divorce her (Engagement then was as much of a legal bond as marriage is today)? She was planning her wedding, her life.
Gabriel reassured her by telling her not to be afraid. I can see and hear her now...Ooo..Kkk..aay.
If that was not enough, he proceeds to tell her that she is to conceive a son. I can imagine how weird that may have been as she expressed her uncertainty by explaining to Gabriel in Luke 1:34 that she was a virgin. Now she could not even have control over every mothers delight of naming the child.
Mary could have put the law down and expressed her demands. But she did not. She knew she had to submit. Joy overcame her. She sang of delight and pondered how others would be blessed. She surrendered and submitted because she understood the purpose of the call.
Now let us look as Joseph. Here he is getting ready for marriage, newly engaged, in love with Mary and he finds out that she is pregnant. How humiliating! How indignant of her! How many questions went through his head? I can imagine he wanted to know who did it? The rage he must of felt. But wait, Joseph took a look at the greater picture. He manned up. He realized that if he revealed his rage to the public, it would disgrace Mary. Understand, Joseph could have only surmised that Mary became pregnant by another man. But he decided to divorce, discontinue the engagement in private. Now think about this. Here is this guy, planning his future with grand ideas of how it might be. The promise of having a woman completely devoted to him. He was honorable as was Mary. They each honored the requirement of God to maintain their virginity prior to marriage. And now this, his soon to be wife shows up pregnant. The story does not end here. In Mathew 1:20 we read that an angel appeared to Joseph, gave him the what's up. Because Joseph surrendered and submitted to God, he fulfilled God's will by continuing with the marriage to Mary and accepted Jesus as his own son. That is huge! Joseph's pride was deprived since his first born son would not even be his. Sure, I get it. Joseph understood what was important. Joseph was not deprived though of the ability to provide the love Jesus would need from him and the ability to pass on his skills of carpentry to his son. Very honorable. Joseph was provided this opportunity because he accepted God's will, surrendered and submitted.
What would you have done in either of the roles? Well, you have the choice now to make the right decision today. God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) desires you to have a relationship with Him that will enable you to serve Him by accomplishing the call He has for you. Through your relationship with Him, you to can "Conceive" or have Christ live in you and through you so that others will obtain a relationship with Him as well. You may be the only door to Jesus that some people may ever get to open.
What happens in our lives is the "SELF" gets in the way. Pride deceives and withdraws the availability of one to have an intimate relationship with God. By this another "door" is taken away. You nor I truly have a right to self. If you are a child of God's you live in Him and He in you. You are a part of a kingdom. In a kingdom you have no rights to self. What is exciting about God's kingdom is that you do not need to have a right to self which is generally birthed out of fear. God loves you and will provide for you so you can surrender to Him. But how will you know this if you do not practice it? Know God's word and live it out if you are not already. You may be surprised at the outcome. You and I do not have to be influenced by this world, but influence it.
1 Peter 5:2-4, 6-11 "2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care watching over them-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 no lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. 11 To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen"
"To hope is to believe. Continue to have hope in what God has given you to desire. For if you lose hope, you've lost the dream." Copywright Clint Fleming