Joseph is an amazing example of how we should passionately commit to others as Christ is formed in them.
As the Christmas story unfolds, Mary has been chosen to bring Christ to a lost and hurting world. As she responded to God’s calling with a ‘yes’, Christ was literally being formed within her. But she wasn’t married and because of how the situation looked the religious community that she lived in would normally have shunned her and she would have even been deemed worthy of stoning to death!
In all this chaos Joseph had been brought into her life in the providence of God, but even he was about to distance himself from her (Matthew 1:19). That attitude can so often be our attitude. We’re brought into contact with people who are seen a certain way. Maybe they have a troubled past, made a lot of wrong choices, maybe they are even guilty of what Mary was only accused of, but if Christ is being formed within them our calling is to be their Joseph. He had been brought into Mary’s life in the providence of God and was called to stand by her no matter what the people thought.
Mary knew God was doing something special in and through her life, but she was vulnerable, she would have been worried about the next step, worried about her family’s reaction, and she needed someone to stand with her. So many people in our communities go through a similar process. As God begins to draw them, they’re very aware of how people see them, and in that process, they feel vulnerable, condemned and worried about the reaction of others. In these situations, we have been called to offer love, hope, compassion, and to stand with them as Christ is formed in them.
This is something we need to be passionate about. When God brings people into our lives, we must be passionate about seeing Christ formed within them. The people we meet in everyday life, our neighbours, families, friends or people we meet in any situation, must know that we care enough to commit to the journey with them. Even being willing to suffer rejection and shame alongside them. THIS IS DISCIPLESHIP!
Empathy means feeling what others feel and having a heart filled with understanding and grace towards them. Paul had a Joseph attitude and understood this process, he was deeply burdened for everyone in whom Christ was being formed and he was committed to completing the journey with them: ‘My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you…’ (Galatians 4:19 Amplified Bible).
One of the most beautiful things in the world is seeing someone being drawn to Jesus, especially when we’re given the privilege to stand with them, whatever the cost, as Christ is completely and permanently formed within them. Joseph was an amazing example of this commitment to biblical discipleship. His obedience in this was so important as Jesus was being revealed to the world.
Lord, help me to develop this same attitude towards the people in my life. Empower me to stand with them, until Jesus is revealed to the world through their lives for Your glory.