The Father Of Choice

The Dilemma Of A Good Husband

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother ary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately. When he had contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will name him Emmanuel, which means, God with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did what the angel of the Lord told him. He took his wife, but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son whom he named Jesus.”

Matthew 1:18-25

The Challenge To Rise Above Adversity

We see here that Joseph was getting ready to marry Mary and during their betrothal process, he found out that she was pregnant. I want you to realize that Joseph has a dilemma. The woman Joseph is engaged to is having a son that is not his. Joseph is facing a very difficult circumstance here. Many of us would see this as a crisis. What is very interesting about Joseph is that even in his dilemma, his response was out of the ordinary.

In the Jewish custom of betrothal, once the contract was made, the couple observed a twelve months process to ensure that the couple was pure before entering the marriage covenant. It took twelve months in order to allow them to discover if the lady was already pregnant. This was what happened to Mary and Joseph.

Crisis often shows what our true character is. Click To Tweet

Crisis Is A Revealer

Similarly to putting a tea bag in hot water, crisis pulls out the real substance within us all. This can also be likened to squeezing a tube of toothpaste: the pressure causes the substance to come out. Interestingly, Jesus taught that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him but what comes out (Matthew 15:11).

For Joseph at this time, the pressure was on, crisis was at hand, yet he showed a very unusual response. We see from this reaction that Joseph was a man in control of himself. Even in the midst of crisis, Joseph had the capacity to contemplate. The scripture says he contemplated how he was going to deal with it, choosing to do it privately. It is worth pointing out that in Jewish custom at that time, it was Joseph’s right to stone her or make a public disgrace of her. However, even before he had the dream, he had already decided to release her privately.

Fathers Choose Mercy Over Punishment

There is a powerful lesson we can learn here from Joseph. I believe there are men reading this that are people of character and substance, who can be calm, controlled, and collected when crisis hits. There was an uncharacteristic deliberation. Joseph was a righteous man and intended to keep things private in order to protect Mary. Joseph knew that if he had sent her away publically, nobody would want to marry her and she would live in poverty. It takes a man who is so secure in who he is to make the kind of decision Joseph made. Joseph made a selfless decision even when the situation seemed to be against him.

In life, we are all faced with dilemmas, especially fathers. We may not all face exactly what Joseph did, but we are all faced with dilemmas that are very challenging and that cause our true substance to come forth. Joseph had a ‘good reason’ not to do the right thing; like many others would claim about their situation.

Every man has a dilemma that is challenging his character. Click To Tweet

The War On Men And Fathers

There is a war on men and fathers in this generation. Society says good fathers don’t exist anymore. Popular culture frames men as being weak, passive, and tolerant to all manner of sin. The devil is trying to take men away from playing their god-given role in society. The machismo culture teaches men to be belligerant jerks. What makes a man great is his ability to take the higher ground in the face of adversity. I believe that god is looking for men and father who will take the higher ground even when there is an easy way out, even when the situations don’t look right.

I believe God made men tough and gave them the capacity to make tough decisions. This is why God has called men to be the priests of the home. It is not so that we can Lord our authority over others but Ephesians 5:25 says we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In other words, the man gets the privilege of being the priest of the home because the man gets the toughest decisions to make, which is to be the first one to lead in submission. Be the first person to make a hard decision even when dilemmas are at your door.

Christ entrusts fathers with some of the most difficult decisions that do not favor them and it will be their honor to do it for His name’s sake. We have been given tough decisions to make. We cannot care what the culture says. Even if they call us sexist, abusive, or mysogynistic, we will do what is right for our families.

God Is Looking For The Father Of Choice

We have a dilemma but God is looking for the father of choice. You may feel like an ordinary man; I bet Joseph felt like an ordinary man but God deemed him worthy to be a father to His own son. You might not feel worthy or qualified today but let me tell you, you are not a father by accident. God has deemed you worthy! That is Good News.

It is very hard to be a good father in today’s society; nobody gives this any attention. However, even if the world looks down on fathers, we will not let that affect our resolve. We live in an age of fatherlessness and so the general view of fathers is not very high. It is hard for a righteous father to live in today’s society but all men have been given this responsibility by God.

What Is Your Dilemma?

What kind of character is being revealed in you through your situation? When everything is good with us, it is much easier to do all the right things but when things are not going well, what kind of character is being pushed out of you. I want to encourage you to make tough decisions for your family, do the right things, be strong, be compassionate – choose mercy over punishment. Be the kind of man that has integrity.

Joseph’s Dream

Not only did Joseph have a dilemma but he also had a dream in Matthew 1:20-23. This dream answered two questions: Whose Child is this and who is this Child? When it comes to being a father, there are lessons for us here. However you came into being a father, whether you felt like it was a favorable circumstance or not, I want to encourage you that God wants to give you a dream for your children. Oftentimes, when we talk about dreams, it is common to hear about personal dreams and goals.

A man can have a dream for his life but it takes a father to have a dream for somebody else. Click To Tweet

Joseph realized that this child in Mary was a child of God. I want to remind all fathers that though your children might be yours biologically or by adoption, but ultimately, they are children of God. Responsible fatherhood happens when you realize you are stewarding someone as special as God’s child. Your job as a father is to steward that relationship. It makes a huge difference when you change your perspective from this is my son to this is God’s son. Honestly, there is a whole other level of responsibility that you are willing to take and motivation for what you will be willing to do. Fathers, you are stewards of God’s children.

Responsibility Of Fathers

God revealed to Joseph in a dream that this was the Son of God, Emmanuel, Jesus the Savior. This was the one who was prophesied about – a child of purpose and vision. Did you notice that God did not tell Mary about the naming of her child but Joseph? God told Joseph how he should name the child.

As fathers, we must call forth greatness out of our children. We must dream for them. These children have purposes and destinies designed by God and it is our responsibility to help discover it and call it forth.

Science On Fathers

Psychiatrists have found that fathers actually play the primary role to answer the deep questions of the soul each child has. A father answers these questions for their child: Am I loved? Am I desirable? Is my life meaningful? Am I worthy? This is why we see a huge crisis in identity in today’s society. You can see children today not sure if they are a man or a woman because they were not told who they are, or grew up without knowing the reality that they are loved and valuable. This is why we have people confused about who they are and about what their purpose is.

God is calling us forward as dads. We have a great responsibility. I am talking to people who I believe are great fathers. We have to call forth greatness and speak life over our children. A father has to speak identity and truth over their children. In a world that is screaming all sorts of confusion, it is the role of the fathers to be the voice of truth and identity.

Fathers Are Rarely Recognized

Father’s have a hard job because the honest truth is they are rarely recognized for what they do. It was the same with Joseph; people always focus on Jesus Christ or on Mary in the story but they rarely even recognize the hard decisions Joseph made. We only hear about the bad dads today; those fathers who were abusive or jerks but nobody pays attention to the good dads. What good fathers do is rarely appreciated to the fullest but that in no way diminishes its importance. We know our task.

Joseph Set An Honorable Example As A Father

After the dream, Joseph made exemplary decisions. Joseph set forth a good example even before Jesus was present to see it. Joseph was obedient to the Lord. He heard the message from the angel of the Lord and was obedient to it. Joseph took Mary as his wife even though it was to his own detriment, as he would be branded by society for the rest of his life as a man who got his wife pregnant before marriage. Joseph’s choice to protect Mary meant that the shame and stigmatization would fall on him. This was Joseph’s obedience.

“If you love Me, obey my commandments.”

John 14:15

God is not looking for sacrifice but obedience as it says in 1 Samuel 15:22. When we are obedient to the Lord, we are setting a good example as fathers. To be a father of choice, our obedience is not a choice. Do our children see in us an example of obedience, not just to the law but also to the Lord?

Delayed Gratification

This was another tough but great decision Joseph made. Joseph waited until Jesus was born to have marital relations with his wife. That takes a lot of discipline, especially when it was his right. Think about the ramifications: If Joseph had had relations with his wife too early, it would have destroyed the testimony that this was a divine birth. Joseph had a vision and a mission. Not only did the plan not favor him but there was delayed gratification on his part.

Are we delaying our gratification as fathers so we can be there for our family, spend more time with our kids and sow the right seeds and words? Are we taking this precious time for them now that we may be the father’s they need us to be?

Faith And Courage

We also see Joseph exercise faith and courage. One of the things the angel of the Lord used to convince Joseph was prophecy. If Joseph did not know the scripture, it would have been very hard for him to have the faith to do what God was asking him to do and to believe that this child truly was the Son of God. As men and fathers, we cannot just be obedient to the Lord and do tough things but we have to be men who do tough things by faith. Doing tough things alone will just burn you out. But when you know the Word of God, it will give you faith to believe in tough circumstances and do the things nobody else wants to do, (Romans 10:17).

Joseph Was A Man Of Worship

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.”

Luke 2:41-42

It is obvious that Joseph was a regular attender in the house of God and a regular worshipper. Worship was part of his life. It was ‘as usual’, not ‘one off’. Imagine what that did for Jesus. He got to see the example of a godly man worshipping God. Joseph led by example.

Our children are watching us. They pay attention to our actions and examples. They observe how we respond when hard times hit and what comes out of us when the pressure is on. You cannot blame society or anybody else for the decisions you make. God has entrusted you as fathers with tough decisions and to be the priest of your home. He has called you to rise up and stand even in the face of adversity, even if it might be to your detriment. Being a father is a selfless task. A father of choice works hard, protects his family, speaks life and leads by example. Are you ready to be the father of choice?

Watch The Full Sermon Here: