Do I take the time to seek out God through His word and in prayer?
Sunday, August 8, 2021
By Jason Warrick, Journey Small Group Leader
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” — Acts 7:51-53, words of Stephen
We see Stephen brought before the religious leaders, zealots and his accusers, waiting for him to crack, but he ends up doing something they didn’t expect. He answers them by giving the history of Moses, showing his knowledge and understanding. Stephen’s ability to answer and show there was no blasphemy taking place probably would have been enough to allow his release. But, filled with the Holy Spirit, the entire room is rebuked for being the stiff-necked people they are. He calls them out for being no different than the Jews of Moses’ time, who rejected Moses and the message given, and who were subsequently rejected by God. Stephen makes the Sanhedrin and all with them face the truth that they had betrayed and murdered the Righteous One.
As a Christian, it can be easy for me to pass judgment on those before me or around me, thinking that I am somehow better or different. The question is, “Am I?” Do I take the time to seek out God through His word and in prayer? Do I ask the Holy Spirit to draw close to me, to guide me, and to use me. Or do I become stiff-necked: obstinate, proud and resisting the Holy Spirit? Stephen was a man of faith and full of the Holy Spirit ready to be used by God for His Glory. I want to be more like Stephen.
“Lord, I pray you soften my heart and open my eyes to what you are doing. May I be sensitive to your calling upon my life and not be a stiff-necked person. May the Holy Spirit be seen in and through me in all that I do. May you use me to transform the landscape for your honor and your glory. I pray for all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Now You Try
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. Take time to read and allow God to speak to you. Write down the one or two verses that stick out. Even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make a basic observation about the scripture you just read. What stood out? Was something repeated? What is the author trying to communicate? What does the Scripture passage teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
Ask, “What does this verse(s) mean for my life?” How might this verse affect your heart — how you feel? How does this verse challenge your thinking? How does it affect your will, asking, “What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?”
Write out a prayer to God. Scripture is God speaking to you, take this moment to speak back. Take a moment to say, “Thank you,” confess to Him what needs to change, or ask for something that is on your heart.