“…But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” —Luke 2:19 (NLT)
Mary had so much to ponder on that holy night in Bethlehem: angelic visitations, an unexpected pregnancy and a new husband, not to mention the joy, pain and exhaustion of the birth of her first child. Imagine Mary looking down at her baby’s little fingers and toes, pondering the angel’s words reported by the shepherds, “to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
She might have asked, “How could this have possibly happened to me? How in the world could I have possibly earned God’s favor?”
The answer, Mary, is simple: absolutely nothing. Most likely, God looked upon Mary with favor because it is God’s nature to do so. His abundant, unmerited grace overflows from His loving heart and is given to us as a gift.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Many of the world’s religions—including Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam—emphasize a belief that the only way to reach their desired afterlife is through hard-earned human effort. If I only say enough prayers, spin enough wheels, walk enough steps, fast enough days, give enough money…then I will have favor with my god(s).
Imagine the fear, anxiety and stress of never knowing if you’ve done enough to earn God’s favor and receive His love. Have you ever struggled to receive God’s grace in your own life? Ask God to expand your capacity to accept His mercy and love. Pray that the world’s least-reached peoples would soon receive the gift of God’s grace through Jesus with open hearts.
Explore tools to help guide your prayers for the frontier at frontierfellowship.com/pray
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