After a very difficult trial in my life, a close friend of mine asked me “How do you feel?” At the time, I could not articulate to him how I was moved so powerfully that I broke out into praise and thanksgiving when I learned that the Lord chose that day to reveal the answer to my prayers. A week later, my pastor, Dr. Melvin J. Woodard, preached about being filled by/with the Holy Spirit preaching from Luke 1:39-56.
The words “my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1: 46-47) resonated in my spirit as the language I was searching for to describe the out pour of joy I experienced. You see, Mary believed that God could do the impossible (Luke 1:37); trusted in the promises of God to the point that she was mobilized to action (Luke 1:39); and, she humbly understood the significance of her life in God’s great plan (Luke 1:48). Through everything that I had gone through I learned what Mary already knew, that I can have confidence in God’s word no matter how seemingly unbearable things may be.
I remember the day I chose to run to the Bible for encouragement instead of running to family/ friends for advice or a pity party. I consciously decided to feed my spirit, confess my sins in the matter, forgive those who wronged me, and praise Him no matter what. I discovered the need to live in and by the Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, her life was in a state where God was able to use her for his purposes. Mary allowed herself to be diminished so that the Holy Spirit totally maximized Himself in her. As a result, she gained peace, clarity, and focus (Luke 1:38). The Holy Spirit filled her and out of her a well spring of praise flowed (Luke 1:46-55).
Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." More of Jesus and less of me is a constant prayer I pray because when one is filled with the Spirit of God there is assurance that everything is going to be okay and out of that spontaneous praise ever flows. “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).