If we read Acts 7 with any sense of gloating over Stephen’s ability to handle Scripture in a powerful way that convicted his accusers, we need to look carefully in the mirror at ourselves. Are we ever “stiff-necked…uncircumcised in heart and ears…always resisting the Holy Spirit” (7:51)?
As these religious leaders were rightly guilty of hypocrisy, there are habits we have learned from our “fathers” that are just traditions, but do not have their roots in the principles of Scripture. These men who were listening to Stephen, felt the conviction of truth, and rather than accepting the truth, they “were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him” (7:54).
I well remember times in my life when a brother in Christ spoke faithfully to me from God’s Word and I did not like the conviction I felt. It takes humility before God to realize and accept that I have not been following truth as reveal in Scripture. When I did, there was a sense of relief that I had allowed God’s truth to change my heart and bring it into alignment with His.
Are you struggling with some tension in your heart between traditions that you know does not line up with God’s truth? You are probably worried about the expectations of those who know you. This I understand. Paul more than anyone knew this tension; “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
It is far more important to be assured that you are pleasing God as a servant of Christ than meeting the expectations of men!
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