“And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit…”
“Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. (Acts 6:5, 9–10 ESV)
What is the Spirit with which you speak? Where does your wisdom come from? Stephen spoke with the Spirit of God, and His wisdom evidenced the mind of Christ in him… The mind which didn’t seek power and prestige, but sought to change hardened hearts and clouded minds through service and self-sacrifice.
Stephen’s words were thoughtfully chosen and carefully spoken. He didn’t just speak truth, he spoke the truth in love. And his opponents were powerless before Him. Surely they found themselves saying the same thing that the officers had said to the pharisees in John 7 about Stephen’s Lord: ““No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46 NKJV)
And truth be told, when we have been with the Man, when we have beheld the Man, then the Man has promised us that He will speak through us:
“You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10:18–20 NKJV)
There have been so many times in my life when I have failed to speak like The Man. In my marriage… I have slammed doors, hollered, and been dogmatic. As a father, I have yelled, threatened, and manipulated. How I need the Spirit of the Man to speak through me. How I need His servants heart and tender words. The appeal of His apostle speaks to me today:
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers… Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 4:29, 5:25, & 6:4 NKJV).
I have been called to speak, and love, and train with the heart of the Savior. My speech is to be seasoned with salt giving grace to those who hear. Like the first martyr of the church, I have been called to lay my life by letting God’s Spirit have the reigns of my tongue… O that my prayer for my enemies might be:
““Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”” (Acts 7:60 ESV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus take hold of my tongue today. Take hold of it every day. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” so take the throne of my heart Lord Jesus (Matthew 12:34 ESV). Reign over my thoughts and words. Reign over my hurts and frustrations, my fatigue and fears. For it is when I am wounded, weary, and worn out that my tongue seeks to lash out. But in Your darkest hour you opened not your mouth, you were silent as a sheep is before it’s shearers (Isaiah 53:7).
I want this kind of self-control… better yet, this kind of Spirit control in my life. I offer my tongue to You as a living sacrifice today… not only my tongue Lord, but my whole self… as King David prayed:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalms 19:14 NKJV)
O Jesus, make me a man after your own heart. Make me a man who speaks with the Spirit of Your love and grace. Have my heart. Have my tongue. Have Your way in me.