Sign up for our electronic newsletter:
Subscribe | Learn More


Trusting the Holy Spirit

By Jill Arbuckle
 
Friday, Feb. 26, 2010

Scripture Verses
Acts 6
 1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."

 5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

 7So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen Seized
 8Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9Opposition 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. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

 11Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."

 12So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."

 15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Devotion

Even while Stephen did great wonders, people stood against him and tried to bring him down. Stephen however, was “equipped”. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and even political influence or power in numbers could not sway his teachings. What awesome boldness and confidence he had through the Holy Spirit.

This of course is where we humans often fall short. Rather than allowing ourselves to be guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we often search tirelessly in our “self” for confidence and wisdom. This inevitably misguides us.

As Christians and as part of a congregation we are used to being servants for Christ. We help others in the community with our hands, our money, our time, and with other gifts. We, however, have another greater responsibility that sometimes brings us more challenges. That responsibility is standing firm in God’s Word and spreading His message even when it is difficult or awkward (Stephen certainly could have waivered but didn’t). Just as people need our hands, their need for God’s Word is even greater, and the Apostles understood this.

The challenge for us is to begin trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead us. Opportunities are placed before us daily to share God’s Word, but we often retreat into ourselves in moments of awkwardness because we are fearful of being criticized by those who might come against us.

Let us not forget the awesome privilege that we have to bring honor to His Word. It is life changing. And when we have opportunities to share his promises to those who need hope, we need to pray for guidance to be able to do so.

Prayer
“Holy Spirit, dwell in us and lead us. We pray that we trust in you rather than ourselves so that we can be bold and confident in moments of opportunity and responsibility to teach others about the promises of love and hope found in God’s Word”.
Amen