Luke 1: 46-56
For a few days we’ll focus on practices, which nurture the habit of welcoming salvation. Who would not want to welcome salvation? Well, if we stop to remember the New Testament talks about ‘salvation’ in three tenses … ‘we have been saved’, ‘we are being saved’ and ‘we shall be saved’ … we shall all find those facets of the full salvation the Lord is ushering us into, which we resist or try to avoid, I’m sure.
Practising faith before the event, as Mary demonstrates here, is a sure and certain way of the Lord helping us enlarge our capacity to embrace more of his ‘every spiritual blessing’ (Eph. 1:3). Let’s remind ourselves where Mary is when she sings out “from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” She was pregnant and hardly anyone would have believed the truth of her song lyrics. It could be, at this point, even Joseph was not yet on board with what God had in mind, just Elizabeth.
I don’t know about you, but even though Jesus says I only need faith the size of a mustard seed, I’d frequently value more. Faith, like a muscle, grows with exercise.… practice.
Speaking out (if you’d rather not sing) faith aloud, places faith in an environment which encourages growth. Try it this week. Think of something you’ve been secretly believing, on the inside, but not told anyone else. Then risk it, share it out loud, preferably with another human being, although we don’t know whether Mary, or Elizabeth, wrote this song down. I find there’s something about hearing my own voice say something, which adds strength. It’s one reason DNA groups work – the simple fact I commit to meeting with another person, to reflect on what I’ve wondered God might be saying previously, makes me more likely to live out by faith what He’s said.
Living now in the light of God’s promised future also places faith in an environment, which encourages growth. If you don’t tell anyone whatever you’re believing in, then no one will hold you to it. Is our avoidance of accountability a reason we don’t speak out our faith? If you tell someone ‘I believe God has promised XY or Z, they might remember! Mary lived it out, trusting in the Angel’s words, prepared for whatever the consequences might be. Mary put her money where her mouth was before anyone believed a word when she said “the Mighty One has done great things for me”.
Prayer: Dear Lord. Give me enough faith to believe in what you are saying to me, right now, so I might put my trust in your words. Give me strength to speak for you without undue concern about the cost. Give me courage to act on your words and live out my life consistently with your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.