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In the stories of the birth of Yochanan (John the Baptist) and Yeshua (Jesus), two people receive a supernatural visitation by the archangel Gabriel. One is Miriam (Mary), the mother of Yeshua; the other is Zechariah (Zacharias), the father of John. Both are told of the miraculous birth about to happen. Both ask a similar question, "How will it happen?" (Luke 1:8 and 1:34).

On the surface, their answers appear to be similar, yet Zechariah is punished and Miriam is blessed. What was the difference? When Zechariah asked his question, he was expressing doubt about such a miracle taking place. When Miriam asked about her conceiving without "knowing" her husband, she was concerned about her own purity. She had no doubt about God's power to make it happen.

So there is the difference. Miriam was concerned about her own purity; Zechariah was doubting God's power. There is a big difference between our purity and His power. We are to be concerned about our purity. We don't have to worry about God's power.

A similar dynamic took place when Yeshua was tempted by Satan (Luke 4:1-13). Satan tempted Yeshua to act in God's power for impure reasons. Yeshua simply says, "No, no, no." When He says, "No" to violating God's purity of heart, Yeshua receives great anointing of power from the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14).

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The spiritual principle is simple: Purity before power. Now of course we need God's power to walk in purity in the first place. But the issue is one of priorities. Every tyrant, criminal and terrorist has a degree of power. But they have violated moral purity on the way. Their power is illegitimate. God is all- powerful. He is looking for people with pure hearts to fill them with His power. There is no shortage of divine power; there is a shortage of human purity.

God's love is His highest quality; then comes holiness and third, power. There will be many tests in our lives: to choose purity over power; integrity over prosperity; loyalty over success. Let us be like Miriam. Let's be concerned with maintaining purity in the midst of an impure world, and at the same time be confident that God has all the power needed.

Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries and oversees Ahavat Yeshua congregation in Jerusalem and Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International. He and his wife and full-time partner in ministry, Betty, have a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew and unity of the body of believers worldwide.

This article originally appeared at reviveisrael.org.

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