Read Matthew 1:18-25
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.” – Matthew 1:19-21
You may recall the last word that Dan Rather spoke on his final CBS newscast. “Courage,” he said. I suspect it was a message to those whom he considered aligned to his particular political/social agenda. Rather resigned from CBS because of a controversy over documents calling into question George Bush’s National Guard service. Rather may have displayed courage. It is not clear whether he displayed integrity or obedience.
Joseph, the betrothed husband of Mary displays all three in this brief look into the birth of Jesus. He was courageous as he faced the very real implications of taking Mary to be his wife. Whether ridicule or hushed whispers of shame, or being put out of the synagogue: all of these potentially could play out against him. As to integrity, he maintained a godly approach to Mary’s pregnancy, and was obedient to the angel’s message. He took Mary to be his wife, remained celibate until after the child was born, and gave him the name Jesus.
Our righteousness in all its glory will never avail before God as a means of our salvation. We cannot save ourselves – no matter how hard we try. We can, however, further God’s work and extend his kingdom by our faithfulness, obedience, courage and integrity.
Is there a relationship that needs to be repared that will take courage to broach? Are you aware of an issue of integrity you need to get right at work? Some struggle with obedience in the areas of sexual purity or financial priorities. Faithfulness to God’s ways and word is a high calling for followers of Jesus Christ.
None of this will earn salvation. But God uses people who display these attributes to do great things. You might settle for being a nobody in the kingdom of God. That may sound like a humble thing to do. But it is beneath your calling as one who has been saved by God’s Son. Who knows what doors might be opened up by that one thing you know you need to do as a follower of Jesus – whether or not an angel has spoken to you in a dream.