Christmas and the Courage to Obey

by Jennifer Slattery

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10 NLT

Most often, pride is my greatest challenge to obedience. When operating in my own strength, I will go to great lengths to not look bad. I’ll avoid saying that truth, or initiating that conversation, or taking on that new role I might perform imperfectly.

Had I been Mary, I fear I would’ve argued some when the angel Gabriel appeared with the news I would soon have God’s baby. 

 I mean, motherhood was terrifying enough, y’all. But to bear the Savior of the world? That had to be completely overwhelming, and yet, that’s not the only thing I would’ve found difficult. Processing it all, my mind would’ve immediately thought of all of my friends and neighbors, of everyone in my faith community, who would see my growing belly and wonder … 

And gossip.

And whisper.

And maybe even turn away.

I was young, about 21, when I became pregnant with our daughter, and I looked even younger. People often told me, “You look like you’re in your teens.” They may have meant this as a compliment, but their words always brought me shame. We were living in a small railroad town at the time, one with long held traditional values–like when and to whom children should come. And not only did I look “much too young” to have a child, my hand was also too swollen for my wedding ring. As a result, I always felt judged, as if people had formulated an entire story surrounding my condition. 

I’m certain my feelings of shame were exacerbated by my less than glamorous past and all the inner lies I’d formed along the way.

As a result, though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, I often felt the need to “explain”. I also took to wearing my wedding ring on a necklace. Remembering all this, I marvel at how readily Mary replied, in Luke 1:38 (NLT), “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

Keep in mind, the angel had yet to approach Joseph. Mary did not yet know that Joseph would believe her and stand by her. At this point in the story, his rejection was very possible, along with her parents and everyone else in her social circle. She wasn’t given any promises, no guarantees.

And yet, she replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

I want to respond with that level of obedience. The kind of obedience that says, “No matter what happens, Lord, I choose you. I choose to obey You, to honor You, to live for You, and most importantly, to trust You.” 

That can be crazy-hard to do sometimes, until I remember the character of the One who calls me to trust. He is entirely trustworthy. The Savior of the world, my Savior, will never fail. 

I don’t know what God is calling you to this holiday season. Maybe it’s to share the gospel with that sibling or to step across the street to invite that new neighbor to coffee. Taking that first step might feel frightening, but may God grant us the courage to say, “I am Your servant, Lord.”

Jennifer Slattery

About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a multi-published author, ministry, and the host of the Faith Over Fear Podcast. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, find her ministry at WhollyLoved.com, and find her podcast at LifeAudio.com and other popular podcasting sites.

In her new podcast, Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.

Join the conversation: What is God calling you to do?

One thought on “Christmas and the Courage to Obey

  1. Just beautiful, Jennifer! I loved the reminder of Mary’s words: And yet, she replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” So powerful!

    Like

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