“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.’” —Luke 1:46-50 (ESV)
When used as a verb, the word “surrender” means to submit to a figure of authority. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 ESV) For the believer, this is the essence of surrender – to give ourselves wholly and fully to the will of our Father.
In the Christmas story, Mary displays a heart of surrender. She was but a teenage girl, engaged to someone who was in many ways still a stranger, and she was told she would give birth to the Savior of the world. Would her fiancé, family, and community understand? Would she be able to protect and provide for her son? What would become of them? There was no way for Mary to know for sure, but it didn’t seem to matter. “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she said, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” (Luke 1:46-48a ESV)
Mary committed herself joyfully to the mission. Likewise, when we fully and wholly submit ourselves to the Lord as believers, we are challenged to take our focus off what many would argue are the most important things in life and refocus ourselves on the only thing that is – the will of God. Our lives, then, become so much more than going through the motions of what is easy, comfortable, and tangible. We lose interest in maintaining the approval of others, gaining material possessions, or chasing worldly desires. Instead, we become equipped to achieve what is difficult, rewardingly uncomfortable, and intangible.
How submitted to the Father are you? How willing are you to live like Mary? Scripture doesn’t promise us that the Christian journey will be without challenges or hardships, but Scripture does promise us the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) May we all surrender to His plan and His will, so we may also say, “For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:49 ESV)