Who is your favorite Christmas hero? Santa Claus? The elves or wise men? My favorite is Mary, Jesus’ mom. It could be because I am a mother. She is amazing! There is much to learn from her example.
Young Mary was an extraordinary woman. Handpicked by God, she gave birth to the greatest miracle of all time. God has chosen you and me to birth miraculous movements to Christ. Disciple Making Movements are amazing acts of God. Mary’s life of absolute surrender, faith for what she’d never seen or experienced, and willingness to suffer are a few things we learn from her.
Struggling With an Impossible Dream
There are days when I struggle with my calling to launch movements. I look at who I am, my weaknesses, my failings, and wonder. How could God use someone like me? My heart can easily drift into doubts and fears as I look at the impossible, God-sized vision He trusts me to pursue.
Do you ever ask those questions?
They’re not all bad. In some ways, it shows humility to realize we can never launch a movement (or do anything of value) apart from His divine work.
When doubts and fears take hold and begin to control, we are in trouble. They must be overcome with truth. There are days when I repeat out loud, “Nothing is impossible with God.” I convince myself of the truth of His word.
“NOTHING is impossible with God,” I say, putting the emphasis on the first word. “Nothing IS impossible” I repeat again, this time stressing the second word. And so on.
Next month, the Getting Started in DiscipleMaking Movements online course will open to a new batch of students. They will be believing for impossible things, for God-sized dreams of radical multiplication.
God has chosen us to give birth to great things in His Kingdom. He also chose Mary. Like her, we face a choice. Will we believe what God has spoken to us?
Gabriel: “Nothing is impossible for God.”
Mary: “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.”Luke 1:37-38 CEV
4 Lessons DMM Practitioners Can Learn from Mary
1. She overcame questions, doubts, and fears.
God had a plan for Mary. It was far beyond what she had hoped and dreamed of. His plan didn’t fit hers. It didn’t match her parent’s dreams for her life either. She was to be married to Joseph, to become the wife of a carpenter.
When the angel made his announcement, questions jumped straight to the surface. “How can this be?” She asked.
Have you ever asked that question about DMMs? I have.
It’s normal, even okay, to ask questions. We don’t have to pretend we don’t have doubts or fears related to obeying Christ’s command to make and multiply disciples.
What did Mary do? She acknowledged her doubts but wasn’t controlled by them. Sounds like someone worthy of being a Christmas hero to me!
2. She chose absolute surrender to God’s will.
Though Mary didn’t fully understand all she was chosen for, she knew one thing. She wanted God’s will more than anything else. Her absolute surrender to the Father’s will was a history-altering choice. It was also something she later taught her son to do. Her surrender foreshadowed the time when He too would pray, “Not my will but Thine be done.”
The things we wanted in life, imagined for ourselves, may not be what God has for us. His calling and purpose for our lives is sure. It is both more, and different, than you have envisioned.
I like the King James version of Mary’s response, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” Will you join me in praying that today?
“Father, I say with Mary, Be it unto me according to thy word.” What does His Word say? He chose you to be fruitful, to be a royal priest, and to be a disciple who makes disciples. (Need a review on those? Click the links!)
3. She believed in something beyond her experience or normal paradigms.
When the angel told Mary she would have a baby by the Holy Spirit, it was far outside the realm of normal. No one had ever had a baby by the Holy Spirit, nor has anyone since. Nothing she could look at in history or her life to that point could give hope that this could happen. It was a simple act of faith. She chose to believe.
Faith is necessary to release God’s power in and through our lives. Without faith we cannot please Him. Nor will we see movements.
This kind of faith requires us to believe God can do things we have never seen happen before.
As humans, we have a tendency to look to our past experience to predict our future. What if God wants to do something through you that you’ve never seen? What if it is something no one in your area has ever experienced?
Movements require us to believe God will work in unusual ways through ordinary people. You may never have seen a new believer lead a Bible study only days after trusting in Christ. Perhaps you’ve never seen anyone but an ordained pastor baptize someone or serve communion. You may have tried to pray for the sick and they weren’t healed. That doesn’t mean God will never use you in that way. Can you believe for things you’ve not yet seen or experienced?
4. She endured shame and suffering without complaint or a pity party.
I doubt I fully comprehend the level of sacrifice involved when Mary spoke those words of surrender. She lived in an honor/shame culture. Becoming pregnant before marriage would mean she’d endure a lifetime of hidden gossip. Only a handful of people would know and believe the truth. What did her parents think? Did they believe her?
Still, she said “yes” to God.
Later, when her son was ridiculed and attacked by the religious leaders of the day, it must have affected her. Her firstborn died a horrible shameful death reserved for horrible criminals.
Never, do we read a complaint voiced by Mary. She suffered shame and was willing to be misunderstood by most in her community in order to give birth to God’s plan.
Your pastor may not understand or approve of your vision for DMMs. Family members may tell you what you are doing is foolish and wrong. The world will tell you to hold on to power, not release it. “Why don’t you baptize all those people and build a normal church?” they will ask. Being willing to be misunderstood is another important characteristic of movement leaders. It’s also part of what brings about the formation of humility in our lives.
Mary, a Mentor of Jesus
Mary was Jesus’ early mentor. Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. Where did that wisdom come from? Surely some of it was imparted by his mom. Her faith in God rubbed off on Jesus, shaping His values, giving building blocks for Heavenly Father to build upon. That’s why she is my Christmas hero.
How do you see your faith, life of surrender, and willingness to suffer without complaint, being passed on to your children or disciples?
Let me know in the comments below or on the Dmms Frontier Missions Facebook group.