â€œBut after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said â€˜Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.â€Â (Matthew 1:20)
The reason that Christ came to Earth was so that we might have life and have it to the full. He wanted us to learn from Him how to live a life that blessed us. He wanted to show His great love for us and His ability to do anything.
The only way for us to have abundance in our lives in a way that really matters is to please God. The only way to please God is to be obedient. And the only way to be obedient is to live our lives based upon Godâ€™s word.
As Christians, it is our obligation to God Jesus Christ to live our lives according to the word of God as it is written in the Holy Bible. Most believers would not argue that point. Where we most often struggle is not in the â€œwhat,â€ but in the â€œhow.â€ How are we to accomplish what appears to be almost, if not, impossible?
How do I live according to Godâ€™s word when everyone around me is going their own way? What are people going to think and say? What if Iâ€™m not liked by my friends? How can I do what Iâ€™ve never done before and what Iâ€™ve never seen anyone else do? How can I forgive when Iâ€™ve been mistreated and talked about? How can I love those who donâ€™t love me? How do I live according to Godâ€™s word when it makes me so uncomfortable?
These are at least some of the questions that Joseph had to deal with in the scripture above. These are the feelings that challenged him as he purposed to do the will of God in his life. Joseph, who found that his fiancÃ©e was pregnant though he had never been with her, is told by God to marry her anyway because she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
No one is going to believe that. Everyone is going to think that he slept with her out of wedlock and to accuse him of fornication, which held the possibility of being stoned to death. How do you swallow this pill? How do you move forward in obedience in spite of the anxiety that he must have been dealing with?
Obviously, it would have been easier and safer for him to quietly divorce her and move forward. But instead we find him living his life according to Godâ€™s word. What does Joseph know that we need to know?
- Joseph knew that Godâ€™s word is a promise from God. He knew the character of the One who made the promise. He knew that God was worthy to be the object of His faith.
- Joseph knew that if God made a promise, that God was obligated to make the necessary provisions to take care of the obedience that secured the promise. He trusted God and he knew that no matter what it looked like, that God was going to take good care of him. When we walk in obedience to Godâ€™s word, there is always a promise of blessing attached. He also knew that when we disobey Godâ€™s word, there is a curse attached. Joseph chose life.
- Because Joseph realized that Godâ€™s word was a promise from God to make provisions for the obedience that secured the promise, Joseph was at peace. He didnâ€™t have a lot of anxiety. He didnâ€™t spend a lot of time being afraid of the â€œwhat ifsâ€ of life. God said it. That settled it.
Joseph moved forward in obedience, never wavering, and he was blessed and blessed indeed by the faithfulness of God.
That is our encouragement todayâ€”to stay focused on the word of God as the promise of God, understanding who it is that has promised to provide for us, if we will only trust in Him. Praise God for His graciousness toward us.
The House of Worship prays for you and this community that we will all be captured by the true meaning of Christmas; that we who have much, will go out of our way to bless and even rescue those who have little. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Remember, Jesus really is the reason for the season. To God be the glory for the great things that He has done!
Anthony Collins is the senior pastor of The House of Worship at 190 Manhattan Avenue in Oak Ridge. For more information, go to www.thehouseofworship.com.