I think about Joseph often when I think of Jesus' birth. Mary was extremely humble and obedient about bearing the Christ-child. Joseph, however, wanted to divorce her at first. Maybe not wanted to, but can you imagine, back in the day, trying to wrap your head, much less your heart, around the fact that the woman you're going to marry is pregnant, not only outside of wedlock, but with the Savior of the world?
Joseph decided not to divorce her. Fortunately, the Lord spoke to him in a dream and told him what he was to do. He didn't question God, he didn't question what the dream meant, he just....he just....
Have you ever wondered if you've heard God clearly before? I think it's safe to say that as Christians, at one time or another, He has impressed *something* upon our hearts, driving us with such force that we are compelled to move. But we wonder.
Was it really the Holy Spirit who wanted us to spend Christmas away from our families feeding meals to the homeless? Was it really the Holy Spirit who told us that we needed to move four continents away to proclaim the gospel of Christ to others who had never heard of Him? Was it really the Holy Spirit who filled our hearts with such love for an orphan in a far off country that we knew we had to bring them home to live with us forever?
We know we need to....just...
I think whether we are able to discern if it's of God or not and truly obey depends on the fertility of the soil of our hearts.
"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." ~ Matthew 13:18-23 (NIV)
May our hearts be fertile and may we, like Joseph, do what the Lord has commanded us to do.