Three foundational truths touched my heart as I read Luke's account of the conversation between Mary and the angel Gabriel, when the Lord announced the coming Savior.
It Must Be Impossible to Me
“Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I am a virgin?'”
Luke 1:34 NASB1995
This was a plain biological question for Mary, but for me, I took it as a lesson: the same sense of awe and impossibility must be a feature of my life, too. Just as Mary was promised she would birth the life of Christ, I have been, too! I must be as thoroughly convinced of the impossibility of Christlikeness as Mary was convinced that it was impossible to bear a child as a virgin.
I must be convinced, "As much as a virgin can’t have a baby — never in the history of the world!! — I can’t be like Jesus. It's that impossible."
I fear because of familiarity with new covenant promises, I rush too quickly to “you can be like Jesus,” without a thorough, solemn acknowledgment of the utter impossibility of it.
It must be impossible to me first, before it can be possible!!
The person who truly feels, "This is impossible," it’s to such a person that the Lord responds:
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:37 NASB1995
God Must Get the Credit for Impossible Works
“The angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.'”
Luke 1:35 NASB1995
The baby wasn’t called “the Son of God and Mary,” but "the Son of God," only.
Similarly, when the Lord accomplishes the work of Christlikeness in me, His desire is 100% credit: “work of God.” Not “work of God and Jeremy.”
“so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'”
1 Corinthians 1:29-31 NASB1995
God's Impossible Work Is Promised
As unfathomable as it seems, it is blessedly possible (more than that; it is PROMISED) that something will come through my life without a trace of me — without a trace of self
— that could be wholly identified with and attributable to God.
Timid soul, dost thou fear there is no hope of God getting glory from your life?
Fear not. "Only believe." Banish every other reaction from your heart.
What Is My Response?
Will I say to ALL of the above (all 3 parts) what Mary did:
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’”
Luke 1:38 NASB1995
“Amen” to the impossible work being done - as impossible as it seems
And “Amen” to God getting 100% of the credit
And “Amen” to the promised, unfathomable hope that something could possibly come from my life that points to God, that actually exalts Him - that there could be something from my life without a trace of me in it
I want to declare a hearty, "It shall be so!" to every single promise of God. Certainly, it's impossible, but that's the point! That's how God gets all the credit. As long as I think I can produce the life of Christ, it's hopeless. But then, when I regard the impossibility of the promise, I have a decision to make: will I believe? The blessing comes by faith.
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
Luke 1:45 NASB1995