Devotional Passage: Matthew 1:20-23
What are you scared of? Heights? Public speaking? Getting struck by lightning? Are you scared of snakes? Small spaces? Sharks? (If so, good. Sharks are insane, people-eating monsters. I mean, it’s true.) Different folks are scared of different things. (Heck, you may even have chiraptophobia, the fear of being touched.) But there is one fear that most people struggle with, even if they never admit it—the fear of what other people will think.
You’ve probably felt this fear. It shows itself in funny ways sometimes. Like when you show up to school dressed for Tacky Day only to realize you have your dates off. Your big fear in a moment like this is that other people will laugh at you. But sometimes it’s more serious than this. Sometimes, concerned about what others will say or do, we bury our true selves. We hide our faith. Or we try to be someone we’re not. Fear of what people will think affects more of our decisions than we probably want to admit.
Read Matthew 1:20-23. We talked yesterday about the tension in Joseph’s decision. The angel was about to cut right into this tension. But look at the first thing the angel says: “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife.” The angel assures Joseph that Mary is telling the truth. But the first thing the angel said to Joseph had to do with what other people would think of him. Do not fear. This will be hard. You’ll most likely get made fun of. People may even get upset with you and Mary. But don’t worry about them. God is in control.
Christmas represents a perfect time to be bold about your faith. As our culture seeks to make Christmas about anything other than the birth of Jesus, it’s a great chance for you to put the spotlight back on the true reason for the season. And so be encouraged by Joseph’s example. Live your life without fear of what other people will think of you. Listen to God. Follow His ways. And live boldly for Him.
Think about this:
• Why is it hard to be bold in our faith sometimes? What factors keep us from moving past what others think of us?
• What does your boldness, or lack thereof, say about your faith in God?