Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. Acts 6:8 NLT
It’s sometimes difficult to tell how an experience will impact your life. You enter the experience with anxiety because you have no idea how things will turn out in the end. Then you are pleasantly surprised when everything is going well. Other times, you begin with high expectations; every indication tells you that this experience has success written all over it. You are unprepared for the way things unfold and you are disappointed.
Life is full of twists and turns. You have a set of beliefs that direct your life and you believe that your future is predictable. You know what you want and you pursue it with passion. The Apostle Paul was a man just like that. He was a religious man who believed that it was his responsibility to stamp out those who perverted the truth. Paul believed his training prepared him to make those decisions and the consequences were clear. Deuteronomy 17:5 says, “then the man or woman who has committed such an evil act must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death.” So when Paul heard about these Christians and their message, he believed that they were guilty and deserved to die.
The first record of the Apostle Paul in scripture is found in Acts chapter 7. The previous chapters record the spread of the gospel by the members of the early church. Paul decided that he would participate in the process of preserving the principles of the Law. Although the Law required punishment by death, it also required witnesses. The testimony of one individual was insufficient to prove wrongdoing; there must be two or three witnesses. In Acts 6, Stephen had a conversation with some men and verse 10 says, “None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.” The men became angry and bribed some men to make false statements against Stephen. Their lies angered the religious leaders and Stephen was arrested.
But Stephen gave an eloquent response to the accusations in Acts 7. His response stung and his conclusion pierced their hearts; he said, “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!” verse 51. They covered their ears then dragged Stephen out of the city and stoned him. Those who stoned him took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul; his passion led him to participate in the death on an innocent man. This incident connected both men; each life was impacted by this event. They were both driven by their passion.
Thought for Today: Friend, unchecked passion can be dangerous.
Have a blessed day and walk in faith and victory.