"You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:31-33
Mary was the first to hear of the new thing God was about to do! Everything was about about to change! God was about to move upon His people with a new work in a new way and the world would never be the same! There was "good news of great joy" about to be revealed in the Person of Jesus - God in the flesh!
Ritual and rules and religion and, especially, religious leaders had relegated God to the fringes of their existence. They had strangled the life and joy out of seeking and serving God. There was no love, no freedom, no fellowship, and no life in their religious observances. For centuries they had been going through the motions mouthing the words and clinging to spiritual pride born from the false hope that they were "the chosen ones". Although their priests, scribes and religious leaders knew all about God, few of them actually knew Him.
Dead things need to be buried or revived. What they were trying to bury, God was about to revive. An amazing spiritual revival was just one obedience away! God needed a person, a vessel, through whom He could channel His power and accomplish His will.
Enter, Mary. She was the one God had chosen through which to bring a transforming visitation to His people. If you will - a revival. If Christmas is about anything it is about revival. There certainly would be no hope for revival if Christ had not come and Christ came at Christmas!
I hear a whole lot of talk about revival. I hear people saying how badly our nation needs revival or our church needs revival or our people need revival or our preachers need revival and they are right! We certainly could benefit from all of the above. But please define revival! I am not sure I am clear on what they are wanting. Perhaps they are not either. My guess is they are thinking of a scheduled series of meetings with a firey evangelist preaching and some inspiring musicians who will come and whip them up into a spiritual and emotional frenzy.
Here is what two of the greatest evangelists and revivalists of the last century and a half had to save about revival:
Charles Finney, perhaps the most anointed evangelist since John the Baptsist, noted this about the role obedience and sacrifice play in revival, “Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God!”
A. W. Tozer, one of the spiritual giants of the 20th century added this thought, "Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late - and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience."
Revival is a direct result of obedience. Obedience moves God from the edges of our live to the center. Obedience allows God to cleanse us from the dead works of religion and sweep in with the refreshing, life-giving wind of relationship!
On this historic day when the angel appeared to Mary, He was indicating that a great move of God upon her and through her was just one obedience away!
Could it be that revival, a fresh move of God upon you, is just one obedience away? Is it possible that you need to stop wishing for revival or praying from revival and simple "obey" for revival?
Is there a "dead spot" in your spirit? Is there a point of disobedience that is preventing God from moving upon your heart and spirit?
Look what happened to our world when Mary chose to obey! Look how she did it, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Her obedient response to God brought a revival that continues to this day!
Is there a point in your life where you have pushed God to the edges by your disobedience? Will you allow God to move to your center by praying with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to me be fulfilled.”