December 23

“Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be …’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you’” (Luke 1:34-35)

We are taking a few days around the Christmas holiday to examine the events surrounding Christ’s birth and then applying pertinent principles to our life as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Mary’s question, unlike Zechariah’s, wasn’t a question of unbelief but simply of the mode or method God will use to bring about the entrance of Messiah into this world. Notice first of all, that this very young woman had more faith in God then the priest who served daily in the temple. One’s place or position isn’t a measure of a person’s faith in God as much as what we’ve done with the light God has given us thus far. The angel’s response to Mary’s question with the revelation that all the particulars of how she will bring forth a son without a human father being involved in the conception was this: “The Holy Spirit will come up on you.” This amazing work of God in and through Mary would be accomplished through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

When God asks any of us to do something for Him we must lean on and trust in the enablement and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We are indwelt by God’s Spirit the moment we turn to God in faith, believing in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. From this moment on we are to live and walk by the Spirit, and be filled with the spirit of God (see Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18). We are never to seek to do life apart from the Holy Spirit. The only way Mary could bear the Messiah, and the only way we can live our lives as faithful disciples is through relying and depending upon the Holy Spirit to do in and through us what we could never accomplish on our own. This is why Paul asks the Galatians “Are you so foolish? Although you began with the spirit, you are now trying to finish by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3). Let’s stop depending on ourselves alone to do what only can be done with the aid, strength, and support of the Holy Spirit of God.

The angel told Mary the Holy Spirit will “come upon you.” This means to overtake or operate from within. This is also how God will accomplish things in our lives today. It is when we allow the Spirit to overtake us and to operate within us. The Holy Spirit is a perfect gentleman. He will never force His way into our lives. We must allow Him to take control and take over. But when we do begin to live by the Spirit, our lives will never be the same and the fruit that can only be produced in partnership with the Spirit will begin to be evident in our lives (see Galatians 5:22-23).