Overshadowed

Identity is one of the greatest issues in the world today. We all want to be our own person. Find ourselves. Discover who we really are. We want to identify as someone or something and identify with someone or something. We have made it life’s number one goal—right or wrong. And in all of our searching and identifying, we have completely lost our identity.

We know that Satan is incapable of creating anything. All he can do is take the good that God has made and pervert it until it no longer resembles what it was truly meant to be. Our identity is one of these things. If the devil can make us forget (or never even know) who we really are, he’s won.

A long time ago, a young girl made the choice to give up her own personal identity in order to take one on that would have everlasting repercussions.

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

Luke 1:36 (NASB)

Most people today would balk at losing their identity. What did Mary do?

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:38 (NASB)

Mary submitted her own will, her own identity, in order to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

We often wonder why people no longer flock to churches and why religion as a whole is no longer popular in society. Could it be that we’ve lost our true identity? In search of ourselves, we’ve stepped out of the shadow of the Holy Spirit. We have made ourselves more important than our Creator. The world no longer sees Christ, they see us as individuals rather than the body we are called to be.

If we really want to make a difference in the world, we have to set ourselves and our own desires aside. Mary didn’t even hesitate to accept the angel Gabriel’s words. She would have known that, as an unmarried woman, she would be ostracised by her community and even mocked for her supposed infidelity. Standing in the face of great opposition, she still chose to stand in the shadow of the Almighty. Her acquiescence changed the world.

As Christians, our lives are not about our own personal identity. We don’t need to go searching for purpose or acceptance. Our identity is found wholly in Christ. He accepts us. He gives us purpose. It is not up to us to shine our own lights, but rather to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus can shine.

Read: Deuteronomy 33-34, Luke 1:24-56

Overshadow

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…”

Luke 1:35a (NLT)

Here’s another word for you to think about: overshadow. It sounds ominous. And, in a way, it is.

OVERSHADOW: To cover with shade; to cover with anything that causes darkness; to render dark or gloomy.

Uh… hold on. This is the angel speaking to Mary, the girl who was to become the mother of Jesus. She was supposed to become dark and gloomy?

Look at it this way:

I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I life my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

When Mary said to the angel, I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants, this is what she meant. She was willing to sacrifice herself—her own will, her own desire, her own ambition—to do what God had chosen her to do. Had she not been willing to take a back seat to her own life, the Holy Spirit would not have been able to come upon her.

Here was a young girl preparing herself for marriage. No property of her own. No education (that was reserved for males). Yet, when the angel of the Lord came to her, without question she chose to put her own life aside and take on the life that God had prepared for her.

Could I so easily set myself aside to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit? Could you?

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 33-34, Luke 1:24-56