We should trust that He is truly going to do something with our obedience, and that should keep our hearts in a place of expectancy to see what He will do with our little faith.
Christmas is my favorite holiday and is one of the best times of the year. During this time, I love re-reading the story of Jesus being born through a virgin and being Emmanuel, God with us.
There is so much to glean from this story of faith.
We see the faith of Mary, who believed that God was bringing His son through her (Luke 1:26-38).
We see the faith of Joseph, who trusted that what the angel of the Lord told him about his fiance’s mysterious pregnancy was indeed true (Matthew 1:18-24).
And we see the faith of the wise men who believed that they were being led to meet their king (Matthew 2).
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives assurance about things we cannot see.
If you believe in Jesus Christ, it is by faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
We need faith throughout our time here on earth. It is what helps to sustain us when health declines, life gets tough, and when we are simply believing God for something beyond what we can do on our own. It gives us the confidence to know how God can do so much with just a little bit of our faith. Matthew 17:20 tells us, “if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Faith allows us to believe in the impossible because we know in who we put our hope.
When we look at the Christmas story, we see the reckless faith of the wise men. There are many speculations on how many men were described in Matthew 2. Many believe it was three because of the number of gifts they presented to Jesus (Matthew 2:11); however, scripture does not tell us the number of men who were present. All we know is that they were from the eastern lands, and if we look at the Greek word for wise men, it is magos, which means a sorcerer, magician, or wizard (Strong’s Dictionary).
Scripture says, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.' When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’].”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route" (Matthew 2:1-12 NIV).
One thing I love about this story is how God used what they had always known about, a star, to lead them to Jesus.
Here are ways we can learn from the wise men to activate reckless faith today:
1. Walk in Obedience
These men were skilled sorcerers or astrologers, and despite this sinful career, God used what they knew to lead them. When they saw Jesus’ star, they knew what it meant and came ready to worship their king. They didn’t waste time. We see their obedience again when they went a different route to protect Jesus. They were obedient when God warned them not to return to Herod, and so they made sure to go to their country by a different route.
I wonder how different our lives would be if we were obedient to all that Jesus asks of us—if we didn’t have to wait and request more information when there’s a reason we are being asked to do (or not do) something.
Obedience takes trust. The wise men trusted how they were being led. We should get in the habit of trusting our Savior more. If He is asking something of us, we should trust that He would not lead us astray. The wise men were led directly to Jesus; why not trust that we will be too?
2. Heart of Expectancy
When the star stopped over the place where Jesus was, scripture tells us in verse 10 how they were filled with joy! I wonder how they must have felt during the journey—did they grow tired, or were they too excited the whole route? It is unclear the length of this journey, but it is believed that they traveled a great distance to be one of the first to lay eyes on Jesus.
And when the star stopped over the place in Bethlehem, and they finally arrived where Jesus was, they knew it was time; Scripture was being fulfilled.
As we walk by faith, we should have a heart of expectancy because we trust where He is leading us. We should trust that He is truly going to do something with our obedience, and that should keep our hearts in a place of expectancy to see what He will do with our little faith.
3. Respond to His Presence with Worship
Although they laid eyes on our Savior, we have to remember that we have His Spirit on the inside of us. Jesus is still with us every day. We must take note, like the wise men, and respond to His presence with worship. We all have a reason to worship Jesus. The fact that you are alive and reading this today is enough to worship Him. Let us allow His Spirit to fill us with worship. This story reminds us that we don’t need a church building to be full of worship; we just need the right heart posture.
When we remain in a place of worship, it elevates our faith because our eyes are on the only One who can bring it all to pass.
Psalm 100:2 says, “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” I often find that worship helps remind me of how great and big my God truly is. He was bigger than King Herod, who wanted to kill Him as a baby, and He is bigger than whatever you face today.
He is worthy of your worship!
Jesus can do so much with our faith if we allow Him. The wise men did not have all the details, but they walked in obedience, trusting God’s leading. We have to do the same. God isn’t going to give us the full instruction manual right away, but as we activate our faith and keep our eyes on Him, we will notice that day by day, we will get stronger and grow wiser.
This world needs people willing to activate their faith to give others hope amid uncertainty.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Pink_frog
Shakia Clark is a writer, marketer, and servant leader who is passionate about encouraging women to experience God’s best for their lives. She has a heart for women to see themselves the way that God sees them. She finds joy in coming alongside them in their journey. When she isn’t writing, you can find her spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, trying new recipes, or actively serving her community. She blogs at www.shakiaclark.com.