Devotionals |

The Eyes of Stephen

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. – Acts 7:55
If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. – Colossians 3:1,2

In the book of Acts we are introduced to a disciple called Stephen. He is described as “full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8). Because he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he spoke with great wisdom and those who opposed the gospel of Christ he proclaimed, “were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:10).

As a result he was falsely accused of perverting God’s word. When he correctly used the word of God to refute his accusers and accurately assessed their own rebellion against God, his honesty exposed the evil in their own hearts which resulted in his martyrdom.

As they began to attack him, Stephen “looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). His declaration of this vision caused his accusers to rage. They led him out of the city and stoned him to death.

The vision of the truth of the gospel that lit up Stephen’s eyes, was the reality that held him in its embrace as the rocks were being hurled against his body. Because his faith was so securely anchored in heaven, he could endure the pain and temporary suffering that preceded his death.

Like Stephen, there are multitudes of Christians all over the world who are enduring brutalities, atrocities and death at the hands of people who oppose the gospel of Christ that is proclaimed from the lips of these martyrs.

All true Christians will at some point in their walk with the Lord, experience some form of persecution for their faith; whether it is verbal abuse or physical attacks. These persecutions are made bearable by the reality of our faith. The Apostle Paul’s exhortation for us to keep our eyes on “things above,” is the spiritual focus that will help us endure any persecution that comes against us because of our faith. A heavenly focus enables us to walk above the waters of this life with Jesus, as we carry our cross in service to Him.

When our eyes are like Stephen’s, riveted upon our hope in heaven, no weapon formed against us can prosper or overcome us (Isaiah 54:17). May we all have eyes like Stephen, continually gazing upward with child-like trust and adoration.

God declares to the Messiah Jesus in Psalm 110:1, - “The LORD said to my Lord, You sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. “ Stephen saw the Lord Jesus at God’s right hand, which was God’s further assurance to him and us, that one day all the enemies of Christ and the persecutors of His people will be subjugated beneath the feet of our Lord as we rejoice with Him in victory.

Children, keep your eyes focused upon Christ and our future with Him in heaven. The joy of the Lord that accompanies your sight will be your strength in times of trouble and adversity (Nehemiah 8:10).

Copyright 2023 by H. D. Shively

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