Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid. (Matthew 1:20)

Let's say you’re faced with a big decision—whether to say yes to marriage or an adoption, a career change, or a move. Or you’re wrestling with a relationship issue, like how to respond to a friend who is making harmful choices. What do you do? Well, you reason it out. You seek counsel—from Scripture, Church teaching, and competent advisors. You pray for guidance—a lot. Maybe you ask others to pray too. Finally, you settle on a course of action.

But what if, after you had arrived at your carefully considered decision, God asked you to overturn it? Could you let it go? This is the hard choice that Joseph, whom the Bible called a “righteous man,” faced (Matthew 1:19).

Righteous. That word speaks volumes. It means that Joseph had set his heart on seeking God and doing his will. Undoubtedly, he had focused his life on the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord, your God” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). And so, faced with an unthinkable dilemma—Mary, who was beyond reproach, ending up pregnant— Joseph struggled to find a solution that did right both by her and by the Law of Moses. A quiet divorce seemed the way to go.

What courage it took to scrap this prayerful decision and say yes to a mysterious plan! No wonder the angel’s first words to Joseph are “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 1:20)! Don’t be afraid to ignore the gossip surrounding Mary’s pregnancy. Don’t worry about the job being too big for you. Don’t be afraid to take the next step. Joseph responded in faith. He himself rose to the challenge of welcoming God’s own Son into his home. And God, who is never outdone in generosity, rewarded him with a unique experience of what it means to know Emmanuel, “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Do you want to know that God is with you? Then follow Joseph. Put God first. Try to seek him with all your heart. Bring him your decisions and dilemmas; listen for his guidance. Don’t be afraid! As surely as he was with Joseph, God is with you.

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