August 23, 2010
- By Ed Powell
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"And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith, and of the Holy Spirit." Acts 6:5
Stephen is one of the heroes of the Christian faith. When we read of Stephen's calling, ministry, and martyrdom in Acts 6-7, we stand in awe of this uncompromising stalwart of the faith. They reveal a man of unwavering spiritual conviction, who would not be intimidated by the powerful Jewish Council of that day.
Today, when gross blatant liberalism is running rampant in our society, promoted and encouraged in our schools and colleges, and responded to by our "new generation," it is a challenge to every Christian to measure up to the "pattern of behavior" that characterized this great man of God, Stephen.
When Stephen was chosen by his contemporaries, they recognized in him a man FULL OF FAITH...one whose life reached out to things beyond his own ability and gifts. Faith claims the impossible, the improbable, the impenetrable, and the eternal...and makes them a "reality" through the manifestation of God's power. Faith dares to launch out into unchartered waters, to the deep and dark unknown...to embrace circumstances where, if God doesn't intercede for us, we're done! But that's the excitement of a "life of faith"...to see God make the crooked ways straight...doing things through us we cannot do. It's putting child-like faith in an ever-faithful Almighty God!
Stephen knew he could not combat the forces of evil in his own strength. He dared to trust God, knowing God "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us."
Stephen was also FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Faith and the Holy Spirit are two inseparable companions. You might say, "When I received Christ as my Savior, I received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I am the temple of God, and the Holy Spirit resides within me." That's true. However, there are often things in our lives that impede, quench, and are impediments to the working of the Holy Spirit. We have all of the Holy Spirit we will ever have, BUT the Holy Spirit does not possess "all of us." He does not have full and free access to the whole of our life.
When our will is not surrendered to God, we seek to control our lives. We have yet to turn over to God the right to control our lives. Only then can the Holy Spirit direct our steps and glorify God through our lives. That makes a radical difference in the way we live, the way we think, and the empowering of our lives by the Holy Spirit.
Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had full access to ALL of his life. That's why he "did great wonders and miracles among the people"...that's why even his contemporaries and enemies were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke.
How much grief we would spare ourselves, if we would yield to God complete control and let Him be the LORD OF ALL! We would experience a glorious exchange...HIS STRENGTH for our weakness...HIS WAY for our way...HIS SUFFICIENCY for our ineptness...HIS PLAN for our plan...HIS LIFE for our life. Such can be our experience when our lives are "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." May this be a reality in your life and mine!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?row=235&date=2010-08-23
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