And Joseph, when he woke up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and he took his wife
~ Matthew 1:24, LEB ~
When we walk in faithful obedience, surrender our will and life unto our Heavenly Father, and take up the invitation of Christ to deny self and take up our cross to follow Him: we are able to be grateful for the many blessings of a changed life. Able to grow in faith and confidence as we come to faithfully depend on our Heavenly Father. Sure, we may experience some misgivings at the beginning of our journey – however, as we continue to consistently focus on maintaining the spiritual disciplines – we shall continue to strive for a deeper and meaningful Christian life. Despite there being many problems, we might face, we are able to make the most of the benefits a mindful and crucified Christian life brings. Because we live out the principles of spiritual truths found in the teachings of Christ. Through Christ, we are empowered to find solutions to our own personal struggles.
One of the challenges faced in the beginning of our journey rests upon facing those faults and imperfections that we still have to resolve. Discovery of hidden bitterness and cynical attitude we’ve held against other people and their imperfections means we are fully discovering (and bringing to light) our own personal faults that have gone unresolved. It is through our own personal spiritual journey and growth we learn how to become complete. Knowing it is an unfolding process of experiencing setbacks, small victories, and movement forward.
Spiritual perfection in a mindful and crucified Christian life is not about no longer making mistakes – it is about finding wholeness and completeness through Christ and His infinite atonement. We come to believe that we are loveable through this unfolding process. Not only loveable, but we also come to discover what it means to love our Heavenly Father and love others.
Since we are not perfect – we still need to be accountable to the standards established through Christ’s teachings. Such standards of attitude and behavior requires admitting our mistakes, confessing them, and seeking forgiveness. Making any necessary restitution when the means is optimal and does no harm to others.
This is where mindfulness that is centered on Christ helps us. For the adversary knows our buttons to push as a means to tempt us from the covenant path of righteousness. How often have we said to ourselves, or said to others “well, the devil made me do it” The reality is that the Devil has no power over our ability to use moral agency. He may tempt us with whatever our desires and hearts are set upon. He may entice us and sow seeds of doubt to where we may question. However, the choice becomes ours and ours alone. And what are the buttons the adversary knows? They are those memories and past experiences used to awaken our natural desires. Such memories and experiences remain dormant until awaken at the most opportune time.
As we commit ourselves over to deny ourselves and take up our cross – we need to bring to light those past experiences. Bring to light those natural desires. The lusts of our flesh. The memories we’ve long buried in the vaults of our hearts and minds. They are the sacrifices we offer up in exchange for healing, for mercy, and for grace. Seeking forgiveness and expecting the miracle of our faith. And it is done in a safe environment.
By turning our hearts and minds – our life and will over to the care of our Heavenly Father, there is greater contentment, peace, and joy the world is not capable of offering. Like Joseph – we come unto Christ and follow Him as a fulfillment of the Father’s commandment. For when we turn our thoughts and hearts toward God, to His promised blessings, we begin to experience the peace and joy Christ offers. It is only when we continue to disobey the teachings and principles of the Gospel, we continue to experience misery and suffering.
Today’s Thought and Reminder
Joseph was commanded to take Mary as His wife. Not to consummate their marriage until after the birth of Christ. And from the scripture – we learn that Joseph was faithful and dutiful in doing all that the Angel of the Lord has commanded of him.
Are you willing to follow in the footsteps of Joseph and do as the Lord has commanded? Will you continue to walk after your own will and desire? Or are you willing to commit your heart and life over to Christ? Are you willing to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him? Are you willing to be humble and full of contrition so that you are able to come unto Christ and be converted?
If anything, what fears do you harbor in coming unto Christ and following him for a deeper and more meaningful relationship? What worry is holding you back from living a mindful and crucified life that is dedicated to Christ? What challenges does your past experience and life has that is preventing you from bringing those pains, those hurts, disappointments, discouragement to the forefront and light so that you may be able to place them on the alter and make an acceptable sacrifice?
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