Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Taking Back Christmas: Do Not Be Afraid

Earlier this week, I had a disappointment.  I am full of insecurities and this disappointment played on my insecurity.  It made me pause and question who I am and how I am made, and if I had heard truth spoken to me personally.  It lead me down the path of fear and of shame.

I was reminded of Mary and of Joseph and how crazy it must have been to hear an angel tell her that she was going to have the Lord's child.  How Mary must have wondered if she was crazy!  That is until she felt that baby kick within her and until she realized that a baby grew though she'd never been with a man.  Surely amidst the disgrace and doubt, she would have known it was true.  But just as certain as that, surely others looked at her in disgrace.  She had become pregnant without laying with Joseph.  As far as anyone else knew, there was only one way to get pregnant, and people supposed that Mary had done something shameful.  Yet she was innocent.  Isn't it interesting how God chooses the "foolish things to shame the wise" (1 Co 1:25)?  Our Lord was birthed into a blameless situation but people assumed otherwise.  Our sin already upon Him from the moment He entered our world.  The Pharisaical criticism already there.

The Bible does not talk about the details of those days, but I recently heard an interesting perspective on Joseph. Joseph was supposed to take Mary and have her stoned.  At the time he did not fully understood that Christ was within her, and he was going to give her a quiet divorce.  Perhaps, she even traveled to Bethlehem with him in hopes of protecting her and keeping her safe from others while he was gone.  He dealt with her with grace.  As he pondered what to do with Mary, he dreamed a dream and an angel told him the truth of Mary's situation.  He too would suffer consequences of saving and marrying a woman many believed carried an illegitimate child.

Both heard an angel say to to each of them separately, "Do Not Be Afraid."  Mary and Joseph had much reason to be afraid.  And yet they chose to submit and believe.

They acted in faith as they married.  No one would know whether this was indeed the Christ child until 30 years later when he began to minister.  Surely they saw evidences as they did at the temple when he was 12, yet I bet no one had stopped the scandalous whispers as Jesus grew up.  They chose not to be afraid of man's response and walked in faith anyway.

How often we are knocked off our rocker and driven by FEAR!  My disappointment could have driven me to fear.  In fact I considered it several moments throughout a day's time, and then God spoke and the fear was gone.  He reminded me of who I am in Him, not who the enemy wants me to think I am.

Rebekah Gilbert said on her blog recently, "Don't be afraid of the what-ifs. Don't be afraid to share the redemptive love of Jesus. Don't be afraid to live life. Don't be afraid to love. Don't be afraid of the people who would put you in shackles if they could. Don't be afraid."

Will you join me in walking in freedom from fear?
Come with me out of the darkness of men's lies and into His glorious light.

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