Silence: Take a moment to get still and ask God to center your heart on him.
Scripture: And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”… 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Devotional: Even though Joseph, Jesus’ adopted father, is always in the story of the Nativity, we usually don’t direct our focus to him. It’s a shame though because there is so much to learn from his part of the story. Today, let’s look at two things we can learn from Joseph’s life and faithfulness to the Lord.
First, Joseph is immediate in his obedience to the Lord. In Joseph’s dream the angel tells him to take Mary as his wife and to name their son Jesus. After Joseph wakes from his dream he immediately obeys this directive from God. “24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”
1 John 5:2-3 says this about obedience, “2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” We demonstrate our love for God by our obedience to his commandments. Now, understand this correctly. The Bible doesn’t say if we obey, then God will love us. The Bible says, we are already loved by God; therefore, we obey to demonstrate our love!
One of the parents in our ministry have a saying to their kids when they ask them to do something. “We obey right away, all the way and with a happy heart.” The parents are trying to teach their kids exactly what God desires from us. When we are asked to do something we do it immediately, in the way we were told and with joy! We obey right away, all the way and with a happy heart!
Second, Joseph obeys despite the negative ramifications he will incur. Doing the right thing does not always mean doing the easiest thing or the most popular thing. Joseph stayed with Mary in obedience to God, but that meant that for the rest of his life people would mock him. Think about how all the people in his community thought about him. Think about all the rumors that would be flying around! Was he the one who got Mary pregnant before marriage? Did his wife cheat on him with someone else?
Joseph didn’t let that phase him. He trusted his identity to God and his destiny to the One who holds the future in His hands.
We must do the same with our lives. God calls us to obedience to him first and foremost no matter what the consequences socially.
We must trust our identity and our destiny to God. Then, when he calls us to obey, we must do so right away, all the way and with a happy heart.
Question: Is there anything in your life that you know God is calling you to do, but you haven’t been obedient or faithful to follow through?
Action: Step out in obedience to the things that God has called you to do! Ask God for the strength to be obedient and then step out in faith by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Prayer: God, my identity and my destiny are in your hands. Help me to trust you with complete faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. Remind me of the strength and courage you have given me to step out in obedience and faithfulness to all the things you’ve called me to do. Let me do so right away, all the way and with a happy heart! Amen.