Sunday, December 18, 2016

How Being Obedient to God is not Easy

Matthew 1:18-24 (NIV): Joseph’s Obedience

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (1:24).

Sometimes our hardest choices are those that pose personal and public risks. What do Joseph's acts of obedience and trust teach us about our own tough choices?

Joseph is a man of devout faith with a merciful, kind heart (1:19). After Joseph hears God’s plan, he puts his faith and trust in God, saying “yes” with an open heart. This is not an easy choice for Joseph. By marrying a pregnant woman and taking on the scandal it brings, Joseph shows he is willing to make serious sacrifices in order to do God’s will. Joseph says “yes” and feels the squeeze of public and religious humiliation. But the angel tells Joseph, “Do not be afraid” (1:20). Joseph, therefore, puts his total trust in God.

How many times do we, too, find ourselves with tough choices to make in life? All too often I find myself leaning on my own preference for the path of least resistance. And when I know the more difficult path is God’s will for me, I lack the resolve and tenacious faith of Joseph. In my weakness, I often cave in to the easier, quieter way. When we know there is a tough, self-sacrificing choice ahead, let us recall Joseph and how, in the midst of adversity and rejection, he answered God’s call to protect, love, and provide for Mary and Jesus.

I pray that we take a moment to be thankful for the beauty of life, knowing that each of us is desperately loved by a God willing to be born helpless in a cold manger, live in poverty, run as a refugee, and bear the pain of the cross to save us and bring us to our eternal home with Him. Amen.

Have a blessed week and Christmas season!