When God Hijacks Your Life
By Philip A Matthews
(Excerpted from The Awesome Life-giving Power of Radical Submission to God, © 2014)
During each Christmas season we get to meditate once again on a very special young woman, Mary, the mother of Jesus the Messiah. This is the account as recorded in Luke 1:26-38 (KJV):
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
And the angel answered and said unto her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her.
So let’s imagine what this would mean to us today: Here’s this little fifteen, sixteen year old girl, nobody special, minding her own business, living as righteously as she can, engaged to be married to a nice working class gentleman, and expecting to have a normal little life raising her children in a nice little working class neighborhood in the nothing-special-about-it city of Nazareth. Then, one day from out of nowhere it seems, an angel appears and makes this incredible annunciation that simply blasts her expectations of normalcy to smithereens.
So God just hijacks her life! Like the little life growing within her, increasingly growing bigger and bigger until it literally takes over her body, this monumental burden just takes over her whole existence. She no longer belongs to herself at all. All her own expectations and ambitions have to move over and are completely replaced by God’s expectations and ambitions. She has no life now—except the life God has chosen for her. Her marriage dreams, her relationships with every other person in her life, her reputation, her present, her future, her purpose for living—her entire physical, spiritual, and emotional life is forever, unalterably, and radically changed, co-opted by God without Him asking her anything!
Likewise, Joseph’s life is hijacked too. Whatever he had in mind for his life, that’s over, suddenly and rudely replaced by the burden and calling of being step-father to the Son of God! Man, Joseph, you are gonna be the laughing-stock of the town, fella. Surely you aren’t gonna let yourself be suckered into believing that stuff about Mary’s “Immaculate Conception,” are you?
But notice the responses of these two righteous people. Mary, knowing at least a few of the awful ramifications of this new, hijacked life, meekly says, “Behold, I am the handmaiden, the ‘doule,’ the female slave, of the Lord. Let it happen to me just as you have said.” And Joseph, after the angel appears to him in a dream, rises from his sleep and does just what the angel of the Lord told him to do, by marrying Mary, covering her potential shame, refusing to sleep with her until she gives birth, then obediently naming her child “Jesus” as he was instructed (Matthew 1:24-25).
It’s probably good that God chose for His Son to be born two thousand years ago because He might have a more difficult task finding people like this in today’s Christian world. Not very many people are willing to let God hijack their lives—without even asking permission. God and His big ideas and I just happen to be the little guinea pig! What’s that all about? How fair is that?
How many of us would just quietly and meekly allow God the privilege to hijack our lives and turn them completely into something He has in mind? How many of us are willing and content to live only the life that God alone has chosen and charted for us? How many of us must be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the will of God?
But here is the awesome truth of the matter: We are all pregnant with something special from God. We all have Christ being formed in us (Galatians 4:19; Colossians 1:27). We all have a special calling upon our lives (2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 3:1; Ephesians 4:4; 2 Peter 1:10), and as called believers we all have something special that we are duty-bound to offer to this world. We all have a burden, a gifting, a vision, a divine responsibility, a spiritual assignment, a message from God, a “word of wisdom or knowledge” (1 Corinthians 12:8), a sacred charge that God expects to take over our lives (1 Corinthians 9:17; 12:7; Matthew 25:15; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Peter 4:10). We all, like Paul, have been “apprehended, seized, and arrested by Christ” for a specific purpose (Philippians 3:12). Like Mary, we all should have no life now—except the life God has chosen for us (Galatians 2:20). We all are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus’ blood has bought us, and God’s grace and gifting now totally own us. How many of us are willing to be totally owned by the calling of God?
Are you ready to submit to that reality? Will you draw back (Hebrews 10:38-39) and insist on living your Christian life your own way—or God’s? Are you still fighting the fact that yours is a hijacked life? It’s time to get used to it, because living a hijacked life is supposed to be the normal Christian experience! That is the life that will truly amaze the world, even the church world!