when joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. and he called his name Jesus. [matt 1:24-25]


do you ever wish the Lord would just speak plainly and tell you what to do like he does here with joseph? we see that joseph listened, believed, and obeyed. he believed the words the angel spoke to him, and got up and just obeyed. he took his betrothed, mary, and went through with the marriage even though he knew it would bring shame to them both. he laid aside his marital rights with understanding of what was at stake. this was God’s child, and he wanted to make sure it was clear that there was no chance it was his. he named him according to the instructions he was given. Jesus. meaning “God saves.” through God’s spoken word, joseph believed God was fulfilling the long anticipated promise, and was saving his people by sending his Son. joseph’s belief caused him to obey.

the reality that i forget is, God does speak to me plainly. through his word and the power of the Spirit, he provides everything i need for life and godliness. (2 peter 1:3)  joseph didn’t have the whole of Scripture like i do. yes, he had the old testament, but i have the entirety of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ! i have the establishment and encouragements of the early church. i have the evidence of the Spirit at work through the followers of Christ. i even have the prophecies of the glories to be revealed at the end of time. i’ve been given so much. so, what will it take for me to obey what i know is right? simply belief. when i ask for belief, it leads to awe, which leads to satisfaction, which leads to joy, which bleeds out in obedience in all aspects of life. (hebrews 12:2)


today, as you sit in the presence of God, take a cue from Joseph…


listen. God shows us himself through the word. drink it in. see his beauty. see his love. see your identity in the blood of Jesus Christ. Father, thank you for your word. thank you for giving us yourself through your word, through your Son, and through your Spirit. give me a desire to know you more and listen to your voice.

believe. it’s easy to say you believe. but if you struggle to obey, it’s only evidence of unbelief. that’s not to say you’re not God’s child. even the man in mark 9:17-29 shows us that we can believe and still struggle with doubt. he says to Jesus, “i believe. help my unbelief!” that’s exactly what we need to cry out to the Lord. Lord, i see the truth in your word, but i’m hearing the lies of the enemy. i believe your word is truth. help my unbelief! give me awe and satisfaction in who you are, in your presence and in your glory.

obey. this is the last point of the three, not the first. can we obey without listening or believing? unfortunately, yes. this is the way the pharisees lived, and yet they were left lost, without a true picture of God, and without understanding what it means to be made right before him. they were trying to get there on their own. true obedience flows from a humble heart of belief. so, should you disobey until you feel the right motive? of course not! but understand that moral living does not make you right before the Lord. so, ask for open eyes. obey, and ask for belief. Father, help my unbelief. change my heart, that i might glorify your name.


~arwen eastman