God looked down upon all His creation and specifically identified Mary to be the favored vessel to carry Jesus Luke This was not a random and arbi-trary choice! Let us then look at the story of Mary Luke and see how Jesus was formed in her. From her story, we can learn how the Holy Spirit might be formed in us too.
Imagine for a second that I were to tell you that my sister was preg-nant, but that she had never had any sexual interaction with any man, nor had any medical intervention that would make it possi-ble for her to conceive a child. How would you react? You would probably laugh at me, maybe even to my face. From human biology, we know that the egg of a woman needs the sperm of a man to fertilize the egg and begin the process of forming a child.
We see this exact response from Mary in Luke - "How can this be, since I am a virgin? Now let us think about our desire to birth and bear forth the life of Jesus. Do we realize the absolute impossibility of the command that we must BE witnesses of Jesus and have the life of Jesus flow through us? So too, there can be Christians who pretend they have the life of Jesus formed in them. They claim to have Christ's victory over sin, but have little to show for it. Some men dominated by lust can fool their wives for a time, but eventually their wives discover their hidden pornography habit. Similarly, some will continue to have occasional fits of anger and rage.
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And it can be vice versa too. The wife can have a sweet demeanor, but she might love the things of this world, or have a biting tongue, with NO PLANS to give up these sins. Her entire mood is driven by how she looks, by whether her children are doing well in school, and so on.
These are just a couple examples of how people can pretend to have the life of Jesus birthed inside them, when in reality they are empty of His power. Then there are others who might not pretend to be holy, but who pretend to have the sincere desire to be holy, while lacking any serious intent. They are like women who pretend to be pregnant- they stuff pillows under their dresses, hang around real pregnant women, complain about morning sickness, etc.
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But they'll never go for a physical check-up, and they'll never let others get close enough to feel the baby kicking, because then they'll be found out as living a HUGE LIE. Such Christians will sing with tears in their eyes that Jesus is everything to them, but if you look at their lives, you will see that Jesus is only a small part of their otherwise preoccupied lives.
At the core, they still love this world system and the things of this world. Below the surface, they know they are living a lie, so they'll never submit to somebody more spir-itual to them, nor even seek an honest spiritual checkup from a more spiritual person. The thought of their need and brokenness being exposed is too much for their pride to handle. Let us not be like these Christians. Instead, let us embrace a simple but radical " How can this be " attitude of impossibility when it comes to birthing and bearing the life of Jesus. Now let's be very clear, there was nothing the virgin Mary could do on her own to become pregnant with Jesus.
She couldn't become pregnant by taking a pill, doing special yoga exercises, or anything else-the Holy Spirit was absolutely essential. It was the Holy Spirit who made the virgin womb birth Jesus. In the same way, the Holy Spirit can make our empty selves nonetheless birth the life of Jesus in us. Imagine what would have happened if Mary had resisted this message. It sounds almost ridiculous to imagine this, but consider how Mary's life would change because of this unexpected pregnancy.
To begin with, Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph, but how could should convince Joseph that she was still a virgin, even though she would now be pregnant? Joseph had every reason to back out of the engagement, and then her prospects for marriage would be over. Afterward, she would be a single mother, and Jesus would grow up being ridiculed and made fun of because everyone thought that He was illegitimate. They would live as outcasts, all because she chose to obey God.
How then did Mary respond? I am the Lord's servant! Let the Lord do with me whatever He wants! What an incredible response! This is a wonderful picture of a truly surrendered person. Paul makes it clearly that we must surrender. We don't belong to ourselves anymore. We have been bought with a price, so we must glorify God with our bodies.
When we, like Mary, are fully surrendered, we are able to receive the fire of God a symbol of the Holy Spirit , as described in both the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 1 describes how to offer a burnt offering, dividing the entire animal into pieces and placing each piece on the altar.
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For us in the New Covenant, Paul tells us that we must offer our bodies as living sacrifices Romans So we must offer our bodies piece by piece; every part of our bodies dedicated to serve the Lord. Once we have carefully and intentionally surrendered all parts of our body as in Leviticus 1 , God will not disappoint us. When Aaron finished laying the animal body parts completely on the altar, fire from the Lord came and consumed the offering Leviticus In the same way, the fire of the Holy Spirit will fall on our lives as we offer our bodies up entirely as living sacrifices.
This attitude of full surrender to the purposes of God is rare today. But then, this is precisely why so few are filled with the Holy Spirit today. If, at great cost, Mary's full surrender was required for the Holy Spirit to indwell her, we cannot expect an easier road. But I also hope that we can see the immense blessing the fire of the Holy Spirit that we will surrender all. There are some who will confess the impossibility of bearing the life of Jesus and stop there. This honest statement remains true, but it MUST be coupled with a statement of faith.
I believe that the reason why so many sincere Christians, who seem to be humble and honest, have never experienced the Holy Spirit in their lives is because they don't have the same faith that Mary had. There is no spiritual virtue in honesty if it is not accompanied by faith. God's Word only works for those who are fully surrendered to the Lord. Therefore, if God's Word tells us that we are going to bring forth the life of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we MUST say Amen and believe that it will be so 2 Corinthians , even AS we fully recognize how impossible it is to accomplish on our own.
The Holy Spirit makes the impossible possible!
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For nothing will be impossible with God Luke ! Consider an area of sin in your life where you think it's impos-sible to BE a witness for Jesus. Is it more impossible than an year-old woman or a virgin to have a baby? These are all not humanly possible. But we can share in their faith for God to do the impossible. The Holy Spirit doesn't work alone. To bring Jesus into the world, He chose to work through the womb of Mary and made it an essen-tial part of the Divine plan of God. This is because God loves to partner with us. Jesus could have produced wine at the wedding at Cana by himself, but He worked with the servants - having them pour water into the pots first.
Jesus could have turned the stones into bread that fed 5, people, but He instead chose to multiply the 5 loaves and 2 fish offered by a little boy. So also, God can transform us to be like Jesus in an instant if He so desired. But this is not His plan. That is what brings Him the greatest glory!