What must it have been like to be Mary, not only to bear the Son of God, but to watch Him walk around with your face on?
After all, Jesus needed someone’s human genes, didn’t He? Without an earthly father, didn’t those genes come from Mary? Wouldn’t Jesus have resembled her more than anyone else?
I imagine it would have been humbling indeed to watch someone live a sinless life inside a body that closely resembled yours while you struggled to live the life God wanted you to live and failed at every turn like we all do. Of course, if Mary was ever tempted to rationalize everything that had happened to her—the angel, the birth, the star, the shepherds, the wise men, etc.—and dismiss it as girlish fancy, the stark contrast between the way she wore her skin and that way Jesus wore it would have been enough, I’m sure, to affirm the miracle she had experienced.
Although being the mother of Jesus must have come with its own set of struggles, in some ways, I think Mary kind of had it easy. When God wore her skin, she didn’t have any power over the decisions He made. If she ran ahead of God’s plan or allowed maternal instinct to override her spiritual discernment, those misdirected impulses never resulted in mistakes that could interfere with God’s plan because Jesus had the final say.
I wish it were that simple for us.
God wears our faces, too, you know. When we put our faith in His death and resurrection for salvation from sin, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us per Jesus’ request to God the Father (John 14:16; Galatians 4:6). We become His representatives here on earth, charged with furthering His mission to seek and save the lost by making disciples as we live our lives wherever God has placed us (Luke 19:100; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
It’s a big job, an important job, and although I know that the God Who lives inside me is able to work all things—even my mistakes—together to accomplish the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11), I want more for Him than what I seem to have managed so far. Like Mary, I struggle to a life worthy of the calling I have received. I fail…all the time! The Holy Spirit guides and empowers me as promised (Philippians 2:13), yes, but God allows me the freedom to make my own choices. He’s given me the final say in such things, and I can’t help but wonder if He ever regrets that decision.
I would, but I’m not God.
I don’t know what God knows, and I don’t think what He thinks. All I know is that the miracle He performed in me when I was just six years old was real. I don’t remember my exact words, but as soon as I understood there were things in my life that didn’t match God’s will and character and that those things separated me from God, I told Him I was a sinner who needed His forgiveness. I told Him I believed that Jesus was His Son, that He never sinned, and that He died so I could be forgiven and become God’s child. I asked God to save me from myself and take control of my life.
True to His word (Romans 10:9-10), He did, and I have never been quite the same.
Now, this body and brain of mine give me fits sometimes and lead me into sin (Romans 7:18-20)—if you’ve seen that, I’m so, so sorry!—but the Spirit inside me cannot be ignored or denied no matter how many times I mess up. Grieved by my sin (Ephesians 4:30), the Spirit squirms when I do things that go against God’s will or character, and if I ignore Him, He pokes my heart as hard as necessary to get my attention—a huge mercy because no one is more miserable than a child of God living in rebellion. Once He has my attention, the Spirit gently leads me to repentance, restores my soul, redirects my thoughts and desires, and empowers me to walk in obedience so people will see holy God living in ordinary me and maybe let Him perform the same redemptive miracle in their own lives (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Listen, I know it’s hard to imagine that God might want to wear your face, but He does. Will you let Him?