Summary: Today it becomes increasingly tempting to rely on the world’s financial, scientific or educational wisdom. New insights are gained everyday. Knowledge doubles every five years according to Alvin Tofler in his landmark best seller Future Shock. Yet, throug
1. Today it becomes increasingly tempting to rely on the world’s financial, scientific or educational wisdom. New insights are gained everyday. Knowledge doubles every five years according to Alvin Tofler in his landmark best seller Future Shock. Yet, throughout all dimensions of life we come to realize that the wisdom of this world crosses swords with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Stephen is a fine example of a man who learned how to use the wisdom of God to overcome the wisdom of the world. Stephen looked to Jesus Christ as the supreme example for overcoming the world’s wisdom with wisdom that came from above pure, peace-loving, courteous, considerate, gentle, willing to yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering and insincerity). (James 3:17)
Application: Every victory over evil stirs up a warrior more resolutely to advance the battlefront further as a good soldier of Christ. Ask God to help you look to Jesus in the same way that Stephen did to experience victory over worldly wisdom.
2. Stephen had to battle with the wisdom of Roman justice, Pharisaism, priestism, superstition, self-righteousness, self-importance, traditionalism, legalism, humanism and spiritism. The famous martyr did not allow himself to seek to live a life of ease and indolence.
When the church called on him to help with the ministry to widows, he willingly served. God promoted Stephen to a level where he could assume greater responsibilities because of his faithfulness in little things. Stephen did not seek the praise of men, but that of God.
Stephen’s impartiality, fairness, kindness in his administration is exemplary. Stephen learned how to serve without being vexatious, irritating or jealous so that he promoted peace and love in all situations.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you demonstrate wisdom in all of your dealings so that you can follow the example of Stephenâs impartial, fair and soothing style of wisdom in all relationships.
3. Stephen refused to be drug into controversial arguments but used the sword of the Spirit to cut through the shield of carnal disputes. Stephen knew that the shield of His faith, the helmet of his salvation and the sword of God’s word would eventually prevail. Eventually, the Greek disciple knew that Godâs truth would overcome any worldly wisdom.
Stephen expected that worldly wisdom might resort to the use of fraud, lies and even murder, but he was prepared to sacrifice as His Savior did for us all.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to take Stephen’s consecrated attitude forward in the battle for truth. Godâs wisdom is proved greater than worldly wisdom even in martyrdom.
4. Stephen successfully used the wisdom of God to confront his accusers in Acts 7:51 by saying,
"You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you!"
Occasionally, it is necessary to contend by the power of the Spirit. Luke writes, "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart and they gnashed at him with their teeth."
Application: The wisdom of God requires us to speak the truth in love without fear. Ask the Lord for the courage to speak the wisdom, truth and love of God without fear of what might become of us.
5. Stephen commits his spirit by saying, "Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit." When pressured by an opponent, rest in the fact that God is greater than any worldly opposition. Wisdom commits itself completely into the control, guidance and future well being of Jesus.
Application: Worldly wisdom can only take a person so far. Stephen publicly testified to the limitations of human wisdom. Ask the Lord to help you consistently commit, trust and delight yourself in His wisdom knowing that worldly wisdom is inadequate.
6. Stephen’s wisdom allows him to not hold any grudges. The martyr prays, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." The wisdom that comes from God knows how to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Application: Bitterness, resentment and a desire for revenge are self-destructive emotions. Ask the Lord to help bring your opponents to Christ and His love.