By Dr. Ed Young
Will you remember the challenges of rising inflation, of gas prices, and of fear for the future? Will you remember feeling weak and powerless?
Or will you remember using this unique moment to stand as a bold witness for Christ? And seeing the church transformed as a result…
We are living in a time when it’s easy to feel powerless—but so did the early church. Persecution was growing, and it would have been easy for believers to lower their voices, back off, and give in to social pressure.
But one believer named Stephen stood boldly as a witness to those around him—and to you and me today. Stephen offers an example to follow of how God can work powerfully through a heart fully committed to Him.
1. Stephen had power to serve.
Acts 6:5 says, “Stephen [was] a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”
When widows needed help, the church prayed about who would get the privilege of caring for “the least of these,” and Stephen was one of the seven chosen to do it. He was known for his faith—and his faith was shown through his service
When others see your faith in action before they hear you speak about it, it leaves a powerful impression. How are you showing your faith today?
2. Stephen had power to witness.
When men accused Stephen and falsely misrepresented his faith, he stood boldly in the power of the Holy Spirit, speaking truth to them.
Stephen knew his Scriptures, and from Acts 7:2 to 7:53, he reminded his audience of all God had done for them.
When people misrepresent your faith, do you get defensive? Do you talk about yourself? Or do you shift the focus back to God and all He has done? Stephen pointed people back to Christ.
3. Stephen had power to stand firm to the end—like Jesus.
One day, a crowd upset by Stephen’s preaching began to stone him, but rather than lashing out, insulting them, or cursing them, Stephen lifted his eyes to Jesus.
He was so filled with the Spirit that he prayed like Christ, “’Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60).
Hurting people hurt people, and there are hurting people all around you—especially now. When they lash out at you, will you lash back? Or will you see past their hurt to love them like Jesus?
After Stephen was martyred, the church exploded in growth. People who would have never heard the Good News were introduced to Jesus by a body of believers who became bold witnesses for Christ.
You and I have received the power of the Holy Spirit so we can tell the whole wide world what Jesus has done, what Jesus is doing in our lives, and Jesus can do in their lives. That’s the reason the power is there.
Like Stephen, you are not powerless—you have a faith that can serve, speak, and stand in the midst of any hardship. Now go, and boldly proclaim Christ, in the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit!