“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
We see this word a lot around the Christmas season. Cards. Commercials. Decorations. Most of the time, we’re not even told what we’re supposed to believe in.
Santa Claus? The magic of Christmas, maybe?
Well, the Bible presents a radically different concept of what it means to believe. In the Bible, believing isn’t theoretical. Nor is it merely intellectual assent to an abstract idea, like believing in “holiday magic.” In Scripture, believing is synonymous with faith or trust in God. And faith, that is, a genuine belief in God, is demonstrated by a person’s actions.
Take Mary, for example. She’s a picture of what it looks like to truly believe in God because, throughout the Christmas story, Mary’s belief is demonstrated by her behavior. (Read her story in Luke 1:26-2:40.)
When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, her teenage world was totally turned upside down (Luke 1:35).
She had no idea what it would be like to be pregnant, much less raise the Son of God! Plus, she didn’t know how Joseph would react to the news or how it might jeopardize their relationship.
From the moment she encountered Gabriel, Mary had no clue how anything in her life would play out.
Yet, how did she respond?
(Remember, she believed God for something that was beyond her comprehension, something truly unbelievable.)
And yet, Mary didn’t just believe; she “believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished” (Luke 1:45). In other words, she believed that the Lord would do what He said He would do.
After Gabriel left, Mary traveled roughly 80-100 miles to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who, at age 88, was childless. You see, the Lord was fulfilling another promise, and Elizabeth was pregnant with a son, as well (Luke 1:36).
The very fact that Mary made the trip is evidence of her faith in the trustworthiness of Gabriel’s message. Because faith is never passive but active. And the belief in Mary’s heart made her feet start walking.
Though I’m sure she was still a little baffled by the whole situation, Mary took God at His word and demonstrated spiritual maturity beyond her years. She believed that if God said it was going to happen, then it was definitely, without a doubt, going to happen because it’s “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).
In spite of all the uncertainty surrounding her, Mary chose to believe God and hold onto her conviction that He was more than capable of carrying out His plan.
Mary embodies the way pastor, Tony Evans, describes true faith in God, “Faith is acting like something is so, even when it is not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so.”
Oh, that we would have such faith!
Like Mary, we’re probably all facing some degree of uncertainty. We don’t have all the answers, nor do we have perfect explanations for all that’s transpiring in our lives. But as someone wisely observed, “We don’t live on explanations but on promises.”
At the end of the day, it comes down to us choosing to have faith in the Lord’s promises and to take Him at His word.
This Christmas season, take a moment to tell the Lord that you believe in Him.
And not just that you believe in Him as a child believes in Santa Claus.
Just as Mary did, tell Him you believe that He will do what He said He will do.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH