Mary’s Difficult Decision (Part 1)
by Rhonda Stoppe
One very normal day, Mary was going about her business. Her thoughts were on the love of her life and soon-to-be husband. The plans for her wedding ceremony were starting to come together nicely. Mary and her fiancé had already chosen the menu for the reception, and now she was about to begin selecting fabric for the bridesmaids’ dresses. She hadn’t decided yet how she would do her hair, but the veil was beautiful and she could hardly wait to wear it! She couldn’t help but smile when she thought of how fortunate she was–betrothed to the kindest man she had ever known. Oh, what a blessed future lay ahead of them!
I can only speculate on the thoughts that Mary…
…the mother of Jesus, may have had leading up to her encounter with the angel, Gabriel. The Bible doesn’t tell us her exact age, but we do know that she was young. In ancient Israel, it was a cultural norm for a young virgin to be betrothed when she began to menstruate. If that were the case for Mary, then it is quite possible she would have been a young teenager.
I have helped two of my daughters plan their weddings. Anyone who has been a part of such a glorious experience knows that from the time the engagement ring is placed on a young bride’s finger until the day she walks down the aisle, her mind is filled with excitement and decisions as she plans the blessed day. Mary would have been just like any other bride–or was she?
Because God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus, don’t you think it’s worthwhile to see what valuable insights we can gain from looking at her character? What moved God to entrust Mary with the ministry of being the mother of His only begotten Son? The Bible reveals many things about this young woman. Let’s look at some of Mary’s qualities and see if we can apply them to our own lives.
Mary was a virgin. In obedience to God’s law, she had kept herself sexually pure. The Lord had prophesied through Isaiah that a virgin would conceive the promised Messiah. Mary’s purity made her a woman that the Lord could use to accomplish His great plan. Have you ever considered that immorality could keep you from being a vessel of honor for the Master’s use?
In our culture, there is a regrettable tolerance for sexual promiscuity. I have met single mothers who profess to be Christians yet were involved in intimate relationships that did not honor or obey God. And because of their decision, their consciences were seared by the sinful choices they made.
A mother’s promiscuity can have a negative influence upon her son’s personal purity. What’s more, as a Christian mother, if you dishonor the Lord by having sex outside of marriage, you cannot be led by the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 makes it clear we either walk in the Spirit or in the flesh: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” If you are not Spirit led, your best effort to train your son will be just that–your best effort, rather than God working through you.
The Bible clearly teaches that when a believer willfully rebels against God’s commands, the Holy Spirit inside of them is quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Christians are also instructed not to grieve the Holy Spirit, but to be controlled and walk by means of the Spirit. In order for the Lord to lead a mother in this calling of motherhood, it is an absolute priority for her to walk in sexual purity.
When a woman involves herself in sexual relations outside of marriage, she removes herself from God’s protection and forfeits her ability to apply discernment to the relationship with the help of His Spirit. In her sinful state, she is more likely to pursue a path that settles for so much less than God’s plans for her–and her son.
If you are walking in disobedience to the Lord, you cannot be the pure vessel of honor the Lord intends you to be. You will not be lead by the Spirit, and your disobedience will lead you away from God’s will–the consequences will be devastating (see Proverbs 14:12).
Mary was highly favored of God. Luke 1:8 tells us that, in the middle of what was probably a seemingly ordinary day, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, saying to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” As Gabriel continued to unfold God’s plan for Mary to conceive the very Son of God, he said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Can you imagine how it would feel if God called you highly favored?
Highly favored literally means “full of grace.” “It is a term used of all believers in Ephesians 1:6, where it is translated, “accepted.” This portrays Mary as a recipient, not a dispenser, of divine grace.”
Mary had received grace from God. This is the same grace that God avails to you and me through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His amazing grace makes it possible for sinners to be accepted and beloved by the Lord. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect to accomplish His plans through your life. Through Christ’s free gift of Salvation, He provides a way for you to be covered with His grace so that you too can be highly favored–for His service.
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets.
Rhonda Stoppe’s book MOMS RAISING SONS TO BE MEN is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY-And Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House Publishers) is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages. As a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author, Rhonda has helped women to:
* Discover significance and
LISTEN TO THIS RADIO EXCERPT of Rhonda Stoppe on “The Road Show” with Host Laurette Willis: “Exchanging Your Dreams for God’s Plans”