One of the ways I feel in a better place is through my Bible study. I am currently studying the book of Acts and have reached chapters 7 and 8. It is a record of the early church establishing itself, as it finds it feet and begins to flourish. It is bravely declaring the gospel message and facing the opposition that accompanies it. Chapter 7 is sharing Stephens role in the life of the church. What struck a chord with me was verses 55 & 56 of chapter 7, ‘But Stephen full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Look he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God”.
Please do not misunderstand me, I do not compare my situation to that of Stephen who is about to be stoned to death. What I do appreciate is the general principle that I can apply to my situation. I was allowing things to get on top of me, my perspective began to look in on myself and my thinking became distorted. Then I read those 2 verses and they helped me tremendously.
I noticed in Stephen’s behaviour he displayed 3 important actions, as he was facing a difficult, demanding time he embraced 3 key elements to his outlook on life.
He had the Inward presence of the Holy Spirit. ‘But Stephen full of the Holy Spirit.’
He had an Upward perspective. ‘looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
He shared an Outward proclamation. ‘Look he said, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.
Upon reflecting on those words I began appreciating that Jesus before his ascension into heaven promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to his followers. We need the Holy Spirits truth to guide us. We need to be filled with his presence, and with his help display his fruits. Stephen was able to shine in his situation because he was full of the Holy Spirit.
I felt that I needed to maintain my focus on looking upward rather than what was going on around me. I need to concentrate on the heavenly perspective to inspire and determine my outlook
I was ashamed to think how hesitant I am sometimes to share my faith and the need to confidently offer the gospel as an alternative, attractive, fulfilled way of living.
For me it was a sobering time which lead to a sense of being uplifted and seeing things more clearly, now all I have to do is put it into practise and maintain my relationship with God. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Personal application of the Bible is easier said than done but it is definitely worth it. I wonder what chapters 9 and 10 have to teach me! Good luck with your personal application this week.