Thursday, September 27, 2007
A Picture of Courage
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
God not only gives us the right words to say in a given situation, but He also gives us the power to stand up for our faith, even it means harassment or hardship or persecution. This is what happened to Stephen, the first martyr of the faith, as he boldly proclaimed the gospel to the Sanhedrin.
The apostle Peter wrote, “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you . . . ” (1 Peter 4:14). God will give us the strength that we need, just as he strengthened Stephen.
You may think you couldn’t cope if people made fun of you. You don’t know if you could handle it if your life was actually threatened for the sake of the gospel. But if God allowed you to be put into such a situation, He would give you the strength to face it. He would give you the necessary boldness and courage.
Throughout history, God has given special grace and courage to millions of Christians who were persecuted for the faith. Many were tortured. Some even lost their lives. But they were unwilling to renounce Christ, unwilling to deny the Lord who had so radically changed their lives.
Certainly this is what Stephen was—a picture of complete courage and faith as he stood up for the Lord. Even while he was on his knees dying, Stephen stood tall. He had lived like Christ. He had spoken like Christ. And he would die like Christ.
For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions,