The Mary Principle

There are a few principles (or applications) I glean from Mary’s interactions with Jesus. I’d like to share how I’ve applied certain passages as reminders of things that my help in my own life when I grow stagnant or numb. I’m not trying to read anything into Scripture that’s not there, just observing and thinking on the portraits of intimate fellowship with Jesus from those who knew Him well. I thought to call it the Mary Principle. At times we’ve (me and some of my friends) have worded it as ‘feet time.’

I’m not at all trying to make a doctrine out of it like some of those books who are twisting Daniel for whatever project or diet or that make a short prayer in the Bible a whole book. I’m just hoping to share something that might be helpful to some out there who are struggling in the darkness of His Word.

See if anything touches or encourages you in some area in your own walk.

This passage below has always had a two-fold meaning for me, especially after I got over thinking Mary was just lazy and Martha was mistreated. Up front, I saw Mary listening to His Word, and I assume asking questions or talking to Him. I try to do that as I go through His Word.

Reading the Word and spending time with Jesus

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42

Continue in His Word

I was super blessed by the fact that time hearing His Word will never be taken from us.  Mary is a picture of what a disciple does. The Bible uses the term regarding sitting at a teacher’s feet hearing His Words. In Acts 22:3, Paul spoke of being brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. Jesus loved Mary and allowed her to do that.

In John 8:31-32, Jesus told those who just believed on Him to continue in His Word so they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. So in this passage I see the principle of spending time with the Lord (sitting at His feet as a disciple) and talking to Him about His Word. Disciples are learners or pupils. We’re never too old (or too smart) for that.

Here are some questions we could ask ourselves to prayerfully redirect our thought to the right things (Phil 4:6-8).

Are we choosing the good part above? It’s easily rectified if not.

When we do, we can be comforted in the truth that this time will never be taken from us.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Rom 15:4

Isn’t this a beautiful truth? He wrote the Scriptures ahead of time for our learning. And there is comfort in the Scripture, giving us hope.

Who is our portion?

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

In life, oftentimes other things occupy our thoughts and affections before Him, and it’s good to be honest with Him about it when we recognize it is a pattern in our lives. Trying to talk to Him about more things each day, and asking Him to bring things we can do better to our attention. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:28-30).

One thing with any relationship, if we’re taken for granted, we become hurt and can put walls up. That’s when I ask myself am I thanking Him enough for all the things He has done? No, and I probably never will — no one of us loves Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, but there is such a blessing in looking around and thanking Him for so much we have in our lives.

What does the Word do for us?

If we have the Word hidden in our hearts, we know it will help us deal with sin in our lives (Psalm 119:9-11). It helps with experiential sanctification (cleanse our way when we take heed to it).

Look up this passage. I will try to get all these linked — but ask yourself, what does His Word do for you here?

Psalm 119:25,28 His Word S____________ and R__________ me.

What happens when we apply our hearts to His knowledge?

Look up Proverbs 22:17-21

Why is it important to know His Word here? (vs. 21) __________________ see also 1 Pet 3:15)

What else can you glean from this passage? Look at each verse and use your own words.

18a ________________________
18b ________________________
19a_________________________
19b (a favorite thought – this is personal for each of us – also expanded on in 1 John 2:27)

20 – How do you view His Word? ______________ (see also Ps 119:103-104; 105, 130, 140,162)

Psalm 119:162 says His Word is great treasure. Is it your treasure too? It tells us more of the One who loved us and gave His life for us. Think on His love.

Whose approval do you desire as you study?

2 Tim 2:15 __________________________

Why is knowing more of His Word important?

John 14:26

So the Holy Spirit can _______________________________

How can being in the Word help us in this wicked world?
Heb 5:13-14 (specifically 14b)

More Mary Principles – A Picture of Worship and Discipleship

So, Mary and Martha have just been through the death of their brother and the resurrection of the dead. Mary mattered to Jesus, He groaned in His spirit when she wept over the death of Lazarus and was troubled. And vs. 35 says, “Jesus wept.” What a loving Savior. And we know the end, Jesus raises Lazarus again from the dead, and he also becomes a target of rage and conspiracy to murder him from the Jews. Isn’t that just like the enemy we all deal with?

Martha is serving again (not a bad thing at all) but Mary sits at His feet and literally washes them with this large amount of costly fragrant spikenard, using her hair, (which is a woman’s glory), to wash the feet of Jesus. A potential foreshadowing of the very next chapter where Jesus is to sit down and serve His disciples by washing their feet. He tells them to do the same for others. He has declared them clean positionally (except Judas). We have to let Him clean up the feet that walk in this dirty world, part of partaking of fellowship with Him. 

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 

Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.  

Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. John 12:1-8

I think this is a beautiful picture of worship and devotion by one who understood what Jesus was saying about what was to happen when His 12 disciples did not understand what was going to happen. Jesus states she kept this for the day of His burying. Did she know of this because she was listening to Jesus and hearing what He said? I believe so. I want to know the same, and to give any glory that comes my way to Him. I want to remember the things He has done for me, especially what He did to redeem me.

Learning how to worship

Worshiping God for me is hearing His Word and thanking Him or Blessing Him for what He has done. For some it’s singing or listening to music honoring Him. This was part of another principle I took from this passage.

Take Psalm 103 for an example. Try looking at each benefit and saying your genuine thanks for the ones you’ve experienced in your life. See His goodness, love, and mercy shown to us. See who we are to Him, and who He is to us. Remember how far away our sins have been removed and thank Him for they will never rise up to condemn us (John 5:24).

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
who healeth all thy diseases;
who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion:
bless the Lord, O my soul.

Getting distracted like Martha

Like Martha in Luke 10, she was distracted by her serving (many things Jesus said). It’s not that she was doing wrong, but she could have chosen the good part, dinner could have waited. I can be like Martha, getting easily distracted by so many things. As you read Scripture, try to pray about not just letting your eyes travel the page, but that you will absorb and learn from what is said. See what is there contextually. Read other Scriptures that may have something in common with the one you are reading (look at Cross references).

Here are just a few things to remember we are blessed with being in Christ. We are:

  • Accepted in the beloved – Eph 1:6
  • Part of the body – Eph 4:4-6; 1 Cor 12:13, Eph 5:26-ff
  • Sanctified and perfected forever (Heb 10:10,14; 1 Cor 6:11)
  • Sealed until the day of redemption (Eph 1:13-14; 4:30)
  • Indwelt by Him – Rom 8:9
  • Complete in Him (Col 2:10)
  • Hidden with Christ in (Col 3:3)

Of course, there are many other things we are blessed with in Him. As you study, make your own list and add to it. Look it over throughout time and thank Him again. It was something Kings did, they would go back over the works of the Lord. We should remember the same.

Remember, we all need balance in life and especially our spiritual one. Jesus knew to take time away from the crowd alone with His Father. We need the same. You know Proverbs 3:5-6 talks about us trusting on Him, not our own understanding. Pray about acknowledging Him in more of your ways. I did that by trying to ask His help or direction in more areas (and I fail). Get back up again, we’re going to do this till the end (Rom 7:24-25), but we’re going to do so much better with Him.

Know He’s there for you.

Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You. Psalm 143:7-8

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:6-8

Pray and search through His Word when you need guidance.

So summing up my thoughts if I didn’t make it apparent.

Pull away from the crowd and spend some time with Jesus in His Word. Try to do it steadily.

As you study, do it with His approval as your goal.

As you read, see things in His Scripture you can thank Him for, or worship Him over. Renew your mind with it. (Rom 12:2). Strengthen your faith with it (Rom 10:17). Get wisdom and understanding from it.

We are so very blessed to have the ability to have His Word. We own more Bibles in America than anyone else across the world. Some people in other countries wish to have access to His Word.

Let’s try (with His help), not to take the Lord and His Word for granted.

Love in Christ to you all!

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