Silence: Take a moment to get still and ask God to center your heart on him.
Scripture: 46 And Mary said,“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49).
Devotional: Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an incredible woman and is role model of faith who truly should be called blessed in every generation. Here is a teen mom who gave birth to the Savior of the world, yet would endure the scorn of judgement from her community for most of her life.
Whole books have been written on Mary and we looked at how she worshipped on day 14, yet today we’re going to focus on a different aspect of her life – her humility.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” CJ Mahaney defined humility as, “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” Andrew Murray said of humility that it is, “nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all”and “Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.”
Mary was the embodiment of these definitions. She honestly assessed herself in light of God’s holiness and her sinfulness. She said that God has looked on “the humble estate of his servant” and then praised the one “who is mighty” and whose name is “holy”.
We must do as Mary did this Christmas. We must take a posture of humility by reflecting on our sinfulness and God’s holiness.
Sinfulness. Think about it for a moment. Without God we were dead in our trespasses and sins. We were like sheep without a shepherd. We were orphans abandoned, lost, and hopeless. Ultimately, to not have hope is to have nothing.
Holiness. I love how Dr. John Piper describes God’s holiness. Holiness is, “God’s nature, his essence is holiness. He is completely free from sin, and his ways are not our ways. He is separate from and exalted above the creature. All his attributes are perfect, and they all cohere in a perfect harmony called holiness.”
The beauty of Christmas is that God didn’t leave in us in our sinfulness. He sent Jesus, who is our example of humility (Phil. 2), to be perfectly holy on our behalf. Through the cross, “he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Our response to this truth should be one of humility. We didn’t deserve such grace or mercy, but God being rich in mercy made us alive together with Christ. This should move us to sing as Mary sung, “for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant…for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Question: How can thinking about God’s holiness and our sinfulness help you cultivate humility in your life?
Action: Spend some time reflecting upon your sinfulness and God’s holiness, then ask God to make your more humble in 2017. Think about reading one of the books listed below this next year:
- Humility: True Greatness
- Humility: The Beauty of Holiness
- The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy
Prayer: Lord, you ways are not my ways. Your essence is holiness. You are separate from and exalted above all creatures. You are perfect. I am imperfect, yet perfectly sewn. I am broken, yet I am being made whole by your goodness. Thank you for being rich in mercy and love to save me. Help me embody the example of your son and live humbly. Amen.