Stephen, the example for all.

This year, I chose to follow the bible-in-a-year plan in the back of my ESV bible. I liked the plan because it gave me a schedule to follow and accountability. It’s easy to tell if I missed a day. I’ve stayed on track more or less these first few months.

Right now, I’m reading in Acts. Something that struck me in the passages I read this morning was the description of Stephen in Chapter 6. He is described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” someone “full of grace and power,” and when he spoke people “could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit in which he was speaking.”

Wow. What a description of a man. As Christians, I believe we are called to live radically different lives from those around us. Stephen lived radically. He stood up for Christ, even to the point of death by stoning.

Jesus was a radical. He talked to those who were below him in social status, broke social barriers and social taboos. He didn’t care who he was seen with. Jesus loved all, no matter who they were.

I think that sometimes, we as Christians get caught up in the dos and don’ts. We know how we are supposed to behave to be “good” Christians, but we don’t allow God to work us to our full potential. We want to stay where life is comfortable. We pray that God will use us, where we want to be used. See the problem? We are too self-centered.

God doesn’t call us to live a comfortable life; “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). He calls us to live radically different lives. “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). That is radically different than the life we are accustomed to in the United States. We like our comfort, we like our security. But God desires us to follow Him, no matter where it may lead.

For me, I believe God has lead me here. As for what He holds in the future? I don’t know, but I’m trusting Him.

Jeremías 29:11

Pues yo sé los planes que tengo para ustedes —dice el Señor—. Son planes para lo bueno y no para lo malo, para darles un futuro y una esperanza. (NTV)

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