You’ve probably heard the Christmas story countless times, but have you ever looked at the faith of each character in this beautiful narrative? God used their daring trust in Him to bring His son into the world, and ultimately save all of mankind. Here are some powerful lessons we can learn from them today.
Daring Faith: Interrupted by heaven.
Even the wildest imagination can’t fully comprehend the complex feelings Mary must have had when God chose her to be the mother of the Messiah. God’s plan completely interrupted her whole world. Imagine that you are quite content to be young and planning a wedding. Then out of nowhere, heaven speaks and says, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28 NIV). God was revealing a critical part of His plan to this young Jewish girl, and Mary, like so many others in the Bible, had to decide to accept the mission or remain in doubt.
Mary was greatly troubled, confused, and inquisitive about just how God was going to use her in His grand plan. Have you ever felt that way—totally confused at how God will accomplish His good plans in your life? Although Mary reacted in a very human way, her next words are a humbling reminder of how quickly she processed the news and placed her life into God’s hands:
“‘I am the Lord’s servant, may your words to me be fulfilled.’” (Luke 1:38 NIV)
No matter how you feel in the moment, will you respond as a servant of Jesus Christ like Mary did, trusting that His plan is good? God doesn’t ask us to know how everything will work out, but He does ask us to choose to jump into His plans with faith and trust. And as God richly blessed Mary, we know that God richly blesses those of us who say “yes.”
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Luke 1:45 NIV
Daring Belief: Adopting God’s plan.
Have you ever pondered how God used Joseph’s obedience and belief to establish the name of Jesus? Mary would have the baby, but Joseph was specifically needed to adopt God’s plan. What divine peace Joseph must have felt when an angel appeared in a dream to assure him that God was, indeed, unfolding the ultimate plan of salvation right before his eyes.
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” (Matthew 1:20-21 NIV)
Joseph faced criticism and danger by taking a pregnant Mary as his wife, yet he chose obedience and did not allow unbelief to stop or hinder God’s plan. When God asks us to obey, He is giving us a chance to watch His plans unfold in our lives.
What promises has God asked you to obediently wait to be fulfilled? Will you believe like Joseph? It’s encouraging to know that when doubt was heavy, God brought words of assurance and peace to Joseph. Where is God’s path leading you today? If you’ve lost belief in the good plans of God, ask Him for a renewed heart for His will. Whatever may come, you can journey in belief knowing that the Lord is with you!
“‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).”
Matthew 1:23 NIV
Daring Expectation: Pursuing the promise.
Nothing was going to stop the three kings from finding the promised Messiah. Even as Herod devised evil plans for them, they continued to pursue the unstoppable plan of God.
What’s notable about the three kings is the expectation they kept alive in their hearts. Can you imagine how exciting every turn in their journey must have been as they kept following the path of the Messiah’s star? Have you ever obeyed God and watched it lead to yet another promise unfolding before you?
We all have promises and a calling from God, but it’s easy to lose hope in ever seeing them fulfilled, which then leads to discouragement and complacency. The three kings, however, had unwavering expectation for God’s good plans, and when they needed a sign of assurance, God provided it.
The three kings’ expectant journey of pursuing God’s promised Messiah should remind us that God always does what He says He will! When you have a promise from the Lord, hold it tight! When you need assurance along the journey, look for God’s help and know that it will come. The process of waiting expectantly on God will change your heart so that when you see promises fulfilled, you’ll naturally respond in worship because God did what you couldn’t, and you’ll see that He is truly trustworthy!
“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.”
Matthew 2:11 NIV
Daring Worship: Our greatest gift.
Those whom God uses to carry out His plans know full well that He is worthy of praise.
The Bible says that Mary’s soul easily glorified the Lord—she couldn’t help but praise Him! She rejoiced in God and knew that He was doing great things for her. She recognized His mercy, justice and provision (Luke 1:46-55). Joseph willingly accepted God’s plan, choosing to make room for the Messiah despite many threats of danger.
The three kings collapsed to their knees before the baby Jesus under heaven’s starlight, and the Bible says they were “overjoyed” at the sight of Him (Matthew 2:10 NIV). A whole host of heaven’s angels gathered and exclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14 NIV).
Without Jesus, we would still be dead in our sins with no hope of salvation. Even as a newborn baby, the light of King Jesus blazed on our dark world, and 33 years later He conquered sin and death on the cross. Now, we get to praise Him in His presence because He tore the veil and gave us access to heaven! He wants us to know that He is good and for us to proclaim it to those who are still in darkness.
This Christmas, think about how you can truly praise Jesus. True worship is actively showing your Savior how much you love Him, and it’s a vital part of our walk with Him. When we feel scared to obey God’s plans, praising Him for what He’s already done will remind us that He is always faithful, good, and with us every step of the way. Our praise paints a picture to the watching world and to our own hearts of how good God truly is.
At Dare 2 Share Ministries, we have the privilege of watching the Gospel transform countless lives. We invite you to join us today in praising Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior, for all He’s done!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 NIV