ACTS 8:2-4 NIV
Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Crazy juxtaposition here: godly men bury Stephen (stoned as a heretic by the Jewish leaders); Saul mistakenly doing evil and persecuting the true church (in the name of doing God’s work); and yet all those who scatter don’t give up, they keep preaching the truth.
Stephen was a godly man. He was chosen to lead the ministry to widows, because he was powerful in the Spirit. He was stoned to death by those thinking they stood up for God. Saul thought he was doing the will of God. But those truly going God’s will were being peaceful and preaching the good news, even in the face of persecution/death.
I must be sure that I follow God’s true will, and not just go around doing work that sounds like it’s Godly. I have to look at the fruit: is this bringing people close to God, or completing my own agenda? Are people built up and blessed, or destroyed?
Even more, my boldness for the Lord must become stronger in the face of persecution, while still remaining peaceful and uplifting, and not weaken in fear of threats of mere men. As Peter and the apostles said to the Sadducees: who should we listen to, God? Or men?
I’ll go with Him.
Lord help me to remain true and remain bold. Give me the boldness to speak your truth in love. Without hesitation and without fear of men. Only you can judge me and my heart. May my life be seen as a righteous offering to you. May I be a living sacrifice, that in life or death, I serve you well. Amen.
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