We’re open about a lot of things in our lives; our sports teams, jobs, hobbies, political views, and sometimes private things. But what about your love and devotion to Christ?
Are you openly a Christian?
Stephen is known as the first person to give his life for Christ. The first martyr. He wasn’t afraid, even while facing false accusations and death, to openly profess his faith in Jesus.
You can learn valuable lessons from his account about being openly a Christian.
- God’s spirit gives us the wisdom to stand for Christ in the face of opposition.
When you openly profess your faith, it’s not a matter of if you will face opposition, but when, as we see in the onset of Stephen’s ministry.
The Bible says, “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.” (Acts 6:8-10)
This ability to stand in the face of opposition isn’t something you do of your own strength. But in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(Acts 1:8) The power to stand comes from Him.
2. When you openly stand for Christ, you display his glory.
As the false accusations against Stephen began to fly, “all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)
Something supernatural happens when you, full of grace and truth, lovingly stand for Christ. You become more like him.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “All of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
3. When you openly stand for Christ, he stands for you.
The Bible says, “The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” (Acts 7:54-56)
Although this supernatural revelation for Stephen isn’t commonplace, it does reveal a comforting truth. When you openly stand for Jesus, he stands for you. And he always stands in the place of honor.
4. When you openly stand for Christ, even in death, you do it in love.
On hearing Stephen’s profession of faith, “they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him… As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.” (Acts 7:57-60)
Only a heart transformed by the love of Jesus can show love and forgiveness to those who are taking your life.
Jesus demonstrated this same love towards those who nailed him to the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Questions to Consider:
- Are you openly a Christian? If so, how are you showing and sharing your faith?
- Who has God put in your life that needs to know about the love of Jesus?
- What have you learned about yourself while reading this devotional?