Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gift of Courage

"Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding." Matthew 1:19 CEV

This is one of the famous verses that is part of the Christmas story that we hear probably at least once a year. But do we really read it? Do we see the life example that Joseph exhibits?

In order to understand the full lesson, we need to also look at Matthew 1:20-24 CEV
"While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, 'Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 'A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be call Immanuel,' which means 'God is with us.'

After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord's angel had told him to do."

You see, Joseph was a good man. A man that was known to to the right thing. In his day, breaking up with Mary after finding out that she was pregnant, was the right thing to do. His culture would have totally understood that act. That is what was done.

But God had another plan for Joseph. It was so important to Him that He had one of His angels come to Joseph in a dream to explain it to him. It was to do the opposite of what his culture practiced. To stand against what Joseph's world was telling him to do and to unquestioningly do what God was telling him to do. As we all know, Joseph was true to his nature, and did the right thing--obeyed his Heavenly Father.

But let's stop and think about this for a quick moment. Do you think that Joseph just rolled over in his sleep and said without a qualm, "OK Lord, this is a little crazy, but I'll do it." I don't know, but if I was him, I think I would be fighting what my culture had been telling me all my life. I would be wondering what would my family, friends, neighbors, customers, would be saying or thinking. You know that he was a successful carpenter--would this decision effect his business, his livelihood?

Even with all of this, even if it was the hardest thing that he had done up to this point of his life, Joseph did it anyway. Doing the act didn't mean that he wasn't fearful and doubting on the inside--no, but he was courageous enough to overcome those feelings and do the right thing.

What about you? Have you been in a similar situation? Have you had to choose between doing what your culture is telling you is right and what the Lord is telling you what is right?

Your God will never have you make a decision without being there to support you. Even if it is the hardest thing you have ever had to do. He IS there. Every step of the way.

Having courage is not always easy, but the gift you get in return is so worth it. Do you realize that each and every time that you use your gift of courage, your gift gets bigger? You get more confident in the Lord and yourself and it just keeps building upon itself.

Please don't misunderstand--it doesn't necessarily get easier--it just gets better.

During this Christmas week, think upon these verses. Pray that you can have the courage of Joseph. And please, don't forget to thank your Heavenly Father for ALL of His gifts.

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