It is yielding to temptation in thought, word, or action that constitutes sin.
Finally, let Christ become life’s dearest Friend. God is still the greatest Lover, and this gracious benefactor has promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19). As we rest in his Abundant love, every vital need will be supplied. “No Good thing will he withhold from them that walk up rightly.” (Psalm 84:11)
To every single woman He sings, “Your Maker is your husband—The Lord Almighty is his name” (Isaiah 54:5). And to every single man He says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Day after day He whispers, “You’re precious to Me. I want to walk with you and talk with you. I want to be your Best Friend because I love You.”
Many centuries ago, a significant young woman experienced this spiritual intimacy. With her brother, Lazarus, and her sister, Martha, Mary lived in the little town of Bethany. She was an affable maiden, single, sweet and lovable. Unfortunately, she stopped to listen to the tempting words of a Pharisee named Simon, and soon fell into adultery. As the bad news circled in her Judean village, she decided to move northward to the Galilean town of Magdala.
However, instead of getting better, things got worse. She drifted into sinful pleasure, fell into corruption, and found herself moving from one man to another. In her spiritual degradation, demons took possession of her life. There at Magdala, she was proverbial for her profligacy and became known as Mary Magdalene. her life became sour and miserable.
But one day Jesus came to Magdala and the battle began for he soul. As the word of Christ challenged the power of Satan, the demons shouted, struggled, then submitted to the Savior. Seven Devils left her. Her life changed, and she became a new person. Celebrating her newfound freedom, Mary became a Disciple of Jesus (Luke 8:23). Christ became her very best Friend.
Change. Today, the minds of men and women have again become the dwelling place of demons. Young and old alike seem to be driven by a power beyond themselves down the path to spiritual destruction. But Jesus still strides along the streets of modern Magdala. Whatever may be the devils that haunt the human soul-dread or despair, sorrow or suicide, drugs or drunkenness, pride or pleasure, adultery or anger—-whatever may be the demons that torment the spirit, Jesus Christ can give Victory. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:17)
The Mary made the bold decision to go back to Bethany. She wanted to be a Christian in her own hometown. It was a challenging road back, but the woman struggled onward. As she entered the village, she made her resolution; she would be deaf to gossipers, blind to the snobbers, and dumb to the doubters. She would let time testify to her own loyalty.
Whenever the itinerant Preacher visited Judea, He found a welcome home at Bethany, for his household of singles was very special to Him. Martha, fine cook that she was, delighted to testify His hunger with her delicious dishes. And when Lazarus got sick and died, Christ performed the unique miracle of calling him back to life. But Mary’s supreme satisfaction was in sitting at the feet of Jesus and Listening to the precious lessons which He taught. She was no longer wretched and miserable. Her life had been changed. She had become a new person. She was still single, but she was now sweet and adorable.
Gift of Love. In the meantime, Simon the Pharisee, Mary’s Tempter became a leper. Wasn’t he getting what he deserved? However, one day as Jesus passed by, sinner Simon called for help, and Christ, hearing his cry, gave him help and healing. What a wonderful Savior!
The Pharisee decided to say thanks by giving a feast in honor of his Healer, and to this Supper Martha and Lazarus were special guests (John 12:2). As an excellent cook, Martha was an asset, and as one raised from the dead, Lazarus was a showpiece. However, Simon would not incite Mary, for her presence could be an embarrassment. But Mary decided that whether she was invited or not, she would be present to meet Jesus.
The Pharisee’s token of appreciation was a feast, but Mary’s Gift of gratitude was perfume. hers was no ordinary gift; it was “an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume.” How expensive was it? It was worth “more than a year’s wages” (Mark 14:5) What a precious gift! What a special sacrifice!
But as she fingered this gift, the whole story of her past rose up before her. She saw her sin, her shame, her degradation, her haunted days, her sleepless nights, her cries of anguish, her sense of loss—she saw it all again. Then she recalled the inner battle, the intense struggle, then His gift of victory. What Freedom, Peace and Joy!
Now, her whole soul quivered with holy emotion. Her being vibrated with joyous animation. Gratitude flooded her heart and tears of overflowed her soul. As she wept, her tears bathed the Savior’s feet. And since there was no towel, she used her hair to dry her every tear. Then opening the jar, she poured out her precious perfume. Not a touch here or drop there; she emptied it all on His head and on His Feet! She had opened the floodgates of her love.
Could that happen again?Could it happen to us today?Could the love of Christ cause our souls to thrill with delight, our hearts to beat with wonder, our beings to shake with gratitude, our frames to quiver with ecstasy, our tars to overflow with joy, our lips to whisper, “Lord, I Love YOU!”
Simon gave a feast, but Mary gave her all—a lifetime of savings, the richest perfume, the gold of her dreams, her costliest treasure. Could we, like her, gave our all to our Savior —our time and our talents, our wealth and our wisdom, our dreams and our desires —could we give them all? Every emotion and affection, every aspiration and decision, could we give such a gift of love?
Courage. One week passed by. Then our Savior took a lonely walk up that cruel hill called Calvary. There, with a crown of thorns upon His Brow, and the stripes of the Roman whip upon His back, he was nailed to the cross.
Mockers Jeers! Skeptics sneered! Churchmen cheered! Where was Judas? The traitor was racing to a suicide! Where was Peter? the coward was weeping in shame! Where were James and John, Philip and Andrew, Bartholomew and Matthew? They had fled in fear! But where was Mary? She was standing fearlessly ”near the cross of Jesus” (John 19:25). Bold! Courageous! Unafraid!
Isn’t that the kind of person Christ wants each of us to be —someone who is unafraid to take a public stand for what is right, unashamed to tell the world that we have given our lives to Jesus, unafraid to tell our friends that we belong to Christ, unashamed to stand beside the cross of Jesus?
It was 3:00 pm. She heard Him cry, she saw Him die, and she marked the place of His Burial. Then She “went home and prepared spices and perfumes” (Luke 23:55,56). In life, she gave Him perfume, now in death, she prepared to give Him perfume again. How wonderful it was that she gave it to Him in Life, for she was not permitted to give it to Him in death. As sunset came, she “rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Verse 56)
Honor. Very early Sunday morning, Mary and the other women with their precious spices moved fearlessly toward the tomb. But before they arrived, a miracle had occurred. Gabriel had descended, and there had been a violent earthquake. The stone had been rolled away and Christ had come forth as a Conqueror!
The Son was ready to proceed to the father. he was ready, but not ready. In the Garden He was walking and waiting. Waiting for whom? Not for Peter, James or John. He was waiting for Mary! This woman, still single, was about to be made honorable.
As Mary beheld the empty tomb, she was bewildered. Then seeing someone whom she thought to be the gardener, she asked, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him.” It was then that Jesus called her by her name, “Mary!” The sound of His voice was music to her ears. It was her Master! As she was about to embrace Him, he declared, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father” (John 20:15,17)
Wonder of Wonders! Before the Heavenly Father mer the risen Savior, Mary met Him! What a fantastic honor! The first human being to see the risen Lord was a woman — a single woman! Before Peter and John, Mary saw him! Before the Father greeted Him, this woman greeted Him!
It constrains our hearts to pulsate with gratitude, and inspires our souls to sing with joy. It stirs our desires to take a fresh Look into the lovely face of Jesus, and say with the sublime ecstasy, “Lord, I Love YOU!”
———-this is one of the chapters of the book, I Love You by Gordon O. Martinborough.