The Bravest Prayer
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). — John 20:14-16
What is happening is Mary is in emotional shock. She is so caught up in the emotion of all that has happened that she cannot physically and spiritually see the event occurring right before her eyes. And I will hand it to her, Mary's devotion was tremendous. Greater than many. Remember, she was first to the tomb on Sunday, left to report to the disciples, and even returned again. But given all her devotion, her estimation of Jesus was still far too small. Let that sink in — her devotion was greater than most, but her estimation was still far too small.
In my opinion, this sums up the experience of every believer with God. One moment, we think we have arrived at the apex of all spiritual devotion, and then moments later, God does one more thing that blows our already blown minds. I have witnessed this my whole life. God increases my devotion one day, but the next day, he does something more incredible that illuminates my mind to another dimension of his greatness I have never seen before. I have seen this happen in my marriage, family, personal life, and career.
But to understand and experience this, we have to be willing and able to take a hard look at ourselves. We'll need to evaluate the limitations of our present estimations. First, we have to detach from the emotion of the moment. Second, we must biblically assess the truth about the current event. Third, we must let the truth of God's Word by the conviction of the Spirit within us illuminate any false belief and align it with God's truth. Fourth, then we align our emotions with this truth. And this is what the two angels and Jesus are trying to do with Mary. They are trying to get her to set aside wrong emotions based on untruth by telling her the truth so that she will know the truth and have the proper emotional response. However, she has difficulty doing this because her estimation of Jesus is still too small, and her estimation of other possible hypothetical events are too great.
But in the end, Mary had a breakthrough. It was sudden and transformational for her. In a split second, she saw the truth, destroyed false beliefs, and accepted the truth, which turned her sadness into incredible joy. She discovered the estimation she had about Jesus was far too small. But this new estimation increased her devotion even more.
So, if you want to know a new level of devotion to Jesus, all you have to do is pray the bravest prayer you'll ever pray. If you are ready, then pray these words out loud with heartfelt meaning:
"God, illuminate the unbelief and false beliefs in my mind that overestimate the events of the world and my own importance over you."
If you dare to pray these words to God, I promise he will reveal where your view of him is far too limited. When he exposes it, it might be painful. But if you make the truthful adjustment, your estimations of him will change, and your devotion to him will always increase.
So, are you ready to be brave?
Can you recall a moment in your spiritual journey when God revealed a limitation in your understanding of Him? How did it change your relationship with God moving forward?
What fears or hesitations do you have about praying the "bravest prayer" to illuminate the unbelief and darkness in your soul? How can the group support you in taking this step?
DO THIS: Pray the bold prayer today.
PRAY THIS: Lord, I acknowledge that my understanding of You is limited, and I've often overestimated my own importance. Illuminate the unbelief and darkness in my soul so that I can see You as You truly are and be humbled in Your magnificent presence. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Same God.
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