A QUIET STRENGTH

by Justin Rusinowski | Dec. 10, 2018

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’”

MATTHEW 2:13 ESV

It is tempting to be awed and swept up by the appearance of strength in leaders. In fact, countless social scientific studies reveal that we tend to be swayed toward leaders who are simply taller, more physically attractive, eloquent, charismatic, wealthy, etc. To our natural eye, they just seem to exhibit strength. But, are they strong? It seems that time and pressure bear out the true, inner strength of anyone’s character and legacy.

Some of the men and women that I admire the most know how to do the next good thing without needing to involve a PR spin strategy for the whole world to see and hear. One older man I know in our church family has a way of knowing Truth, not merely knowing about Truth. I have heard many talks about the abiding relationship between vine and branch that Jesus discusses in John 15. But, this man spent a handful of decades tending grapevines—which comes with it a life’s worth of rich insights. More than that, he is a man who simply and profoundly hears God’s Word and puts it into practice. He just has a heart-felt responsiveness to God and seems to be experienced in the art of doing good works in secret for his Heavenly Father alone to take notice and pleasure in.

The dynamic of hearing and doing God’s Word with God’s help is like software updates in an app or computer. You have to keep updating the software that fixes bugs and increases the effectiveness of the processing and practical usefulness. Yes, it can seem like all of that updating just gets in the way of our pace and plans. But, if you go long enough without it, you are setting yourself up for a crash. Crashing an app for lack of patient updating is an insignificant thing, but setting ourselves up for a crash of character along with the collateral damage in the lives of others is tragic.

Herod had position and power and worldly wealth; the weakness of his character is expressed in his paranoia and how he used his leadership to protect himself and his reign at the cost of the lives of toddler and infant boys in Bethlehem. Instead of submitting himself to the divine signs pointing to the Messiah, Herod clung to his own earthly kingdom and lashed out in horrific violence.

We don’t hear a lot from Joseph—the earthly guardian of the Son of God. But, we see a man of quiet strength, responsive to God’s Word. Joseph seemed to have no advantage against the rage of Herod (except when God told him to “rise”).  Joseph did the next good thing with a quiet display of true, inner strength in the face of tragic, evil adversity.

God used Joseph’s leadership to preserve the life of the little boy that would one day bring eternal life to the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The significance of Joseph’s response to God’s Word would speak for itself. God used this experience through the inspired Gospel writer’s hand to reveal the indomitable plan of God’s salvation in human history; we see the Messianic hopes throughout Scripture fulfilled time and time again in Jesus. The seemingly vulnerable Son of God emerges victorious against evil plots—this time from Egypt and one day from sin’s cross and death’s grave—indomitable.

What an honor it would be to play the role of quiet strength in God’s Story with the likes of Joseph and my older, vineyard-tending friend! And you and I can likewise participate by practicing a heart-felt responsiveness to God’s Word. Take a few moments to ask God, “What is the next good step with You today, Lord?” Listen. Pay attention to people He may bring to mind or something good to act on from His Word. Rise quietly and let God lead you today.

Today’s Reading: Mathew 2:13-18 ESV

8 Comments

  1. Darla Beller

    This makes me think of the verse that talks about humbling oneself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. We truly do tend to look on the outward appearances of man and determine the value of that person in terms of power, leadership abilities, and intelligence. The most attractive people I know, though, are the truly humble servants of God whose strength, power, and leadership are not grand displays for public view. Oh Lord, let us know you so deeply that all our satisfaction is found in who we are in You, even if no one else esteems us.

    Reply
  2. Mariae

    Thank you. What a beautiful reflection!!
    In recent years I became very fond of Joseph.
    Not necessarily because of my catholic upbringing. It’s just his meek and humble strength and leadership to say Yes to God’s calling.

    Reply
  3. Scott Thompson

    Thanks Justin. We hear a lot about Mary being chosen by God, and it’s all true. But Joseph was chosen as well. A humble man of God, committed to quiet, persistent obedience.

    Reply
  4. Robyn Yates

    Thanks, Justin. This was good for me to read today.

    Reply
  5. Justin

    Thank you for taking the time to read and to reply. Even more, I’m hopeful that it helped us all to listen and respond “yes” to His leadership today in some significant, quiet way.

    Reply
  6. Robin

    Wonderful message Justin!

    Reply
  7. Joy Newberry

    Thank you Justin.
    I needed reminding of the need and power of a gentle, quiet spirit!

    Christmas and New Year Blessings
    Joy

    Reply
  8. Pierce McIntyre

    Wow…insightful and convecting thoughts.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A Quiet Strength

BY: Justin Rusinowski | Dec. 10, 2018

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’”

MATTHEW 2:13 ESV

It is tempting to be awed and swept up by the appearance of strength in leaders. In fact, countless social scientific studies reveal that we tend to be swayed toward leaders who are simply taller, more physically attractive, eloquent, charismatic, wealthy, etc. To our natural eye, they just seem to exhibit strength. But, are they strong? It seems that time and pressure bear out the true, inner strength of anyone’s character and legacy.

Some of the men and women that I admire the most know how to do the next good thing without needing to involve a PR spin strategy for the whole world to see and hear. One older man I know in our church family has a way of knowing Truth, not merely knowing about Truth. I have heard many talks about the abiding relationship between vine and branch that Jesus discusses in John 15. But, this man spent a handful of decades tending grapevines—which comes with it a life’s worth of rich insights. More than that, he is a man who simply and profoundly hears God’s Word and puts it into practice. He just has a heart-felt responsiveness to God and seems to be experienced in the art of doing good works in secret for his Heavenly Father alone to take notice and pleasure in.

The dynamic of hearing and doing God’s Word with God’s help is like software updates in an app or computer. You have to keep updating the software that fixes bugs and increases the effectiveness of the processing and practical usefulness. Yes, it can seem like all of that updating just gets in the way of our pace and plans. But, if you go long enough without it, you are setting yourself up for a crash. Crashing an app for lack of patient updating is an insignificant thing, but setting ourselves up for a crash of character along with the collateral damage in the lives of others is tragic.

Herod had position and power and worldly wealth; the weakness of his character is expressed in his paranoia and how he used his leadership to protect himself and his reign at the cost of the lives of toddler and infant boys in Bethlehem. Instead of submitting himself to the divine signs pointing to the Messiah, Herod clung to his own earthly kingdom and lashed out in horrific violence.

We don’t hear a lot from Joseph—the earthly guardian of the Son of God. But, we see a man of quiet strength, responsive to God’s Word. Joseph seemed to have no advantage against the rage of Herod (except when God told him to “rise”).  Joseph did the next good thing with a quiet display of true, inner strength in the face of tragic, evil adversity. God used Joseph’s leadership to preserve the life of the little boy that would one day bring eternal life to the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The significance of Joseph’s response to God’s Word would speak for itself. God used this experience through the inspired Gospel writer’s hand to reveal the indomitable plan of God’s salvation in human history; we see the Messianic hopes throughout Scripture fulfilled time and time again in Jesus. The seemingly vulnerable Son of God emerges victorious against evil plots—this time from Egypt and one day from sin’s cross and death’s grave—indomitable.

What an honor it would be to play the role of quiet strength in God’s Story with the likes of Joseph and my older, vineyard-tending friend! And you and I can likewise participate by practicing a heart-felt responsiveness to God’s Word. Take a few moments to ask God, “What is the next good step with You today, Lord?” Listen. Pay attention to people He may bring to mind or something good to act on from His Word. Rise quietly and let God lead you today.

Today’s Reading: Mathew 2:13-18 ESV

8 Comments

  1. Darla Beller

    This makes me think of the verse that talks about humbling oneself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. We truly do tend to look on the outward appearances of man and determine the value of that person in terms of power, leadership abilities, and intelligence. The most attractive people I know, though, are the truly humble servants of God whose strength, power, and leadership are not grand displays for public view. Oh Lord, let us know you so deeply that all our satisfaction is found in who we are in You, even if no one else esteems us.

    Reply
  2. Mariae

    Thank you. What a beautiful reflection!!
    In recent years I became very fond of Joseph.
    Not necessarily because of my catholic upbringing. It’s just his meek and humble strength and leadership to say Yes to God’s calling.

    Reply
  3. Scott Thompson

    Thanks Justin. We hear a lot about Mary being chosen by God, and it’s all true. But Joseph was chosen as well. A humble man of God, committed to quiet, persistent obedience.

    Reply
  4. Robyn Yates

    Thanks, Justin. This was good for me to read today.

    Reply
  5. Justin

    Thank you for taking the time to read and to reply. Even more, I’m hopeful that it helped us all to listen and respond “yes” to His leadership today in some significant, quiet way.

    Reply
  6. Robin

    Wonderful message Justin!

    Reply
  7. Joy Newberry

    Thank you Justin.
    I needed reminding of the need and power of a gentle, quiet spirit!

    Christmas and New Year Blessings
    Joy

    Reply
  8. Pierce McIntyre

    Wow…insightful and convecting thoughts.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NWA Christmas