Proverbs 15:29–33, Zephaniah 2:1–4, Luke 1:26–38 (read online ⧉)
Yesterday, it was hinted that humility is a requirement to experience true (Godly) joy. If you didn’t catch that (or didn’t read yesterday’s devotional), that’s perfectly fine. Humility as part of Godly joy is front and center today.
In Proverbs, we read two things to focus on today. First, that God is far from the wicked. This is one of those strangely worded passages that doesn’t mesh well with how we actually view God. God is always present, even among the most wicket of all. It is the wicked whose hearts, souls, and minds are far away from God, and in typical human pride, it must mean that God is far away from us. This is why the fear (as is understanding truly who God is compared to who we are) of God and humility are so important. If we are so arrogant so as to believe something of God that is really about us, then we have a lot to learn.
Humility seeks God before self, which makes things much easier for us when asked by God to do hard things. It also makes it easier when we have to decide between the world and God. As Zephaniah says, when we submit to God in humility, recognizing who is God and who is not, we surrender to God so that God will do great things.
Mary is a symbol of that humility. She didn’t understand what was happening. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we wouldn’t be any better than she was. However, her humility meant that God moved into the world in a new way through her. While we should not elevate Mary too much, she is still a worthy example to follow when it comes to aligning ourselves with God’s plans.
Ultimately, Mary’s humility gave her a Godly joy that none of us could ever truly understand. Mothers get a large portion of it, but not even they can say that they were the mother of God or the Messiah.
1) Have you ever been asked by God to do something that required submission of your will in deep humility? Did you follow it? Why or why not? What was the result of that decision?
2) We look back on Mary’s life and read what we’ve learned and believed into it. Why does that often minimize Mary’s actions and heart?
3) What is the difference between humiliation and humility? Why do we often confuse the two in regards to our decisions?