And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:15
Honestly, what a peculiar verse? You can read it and miss the depth of meaning. Luke describes Stephen as having a face like an angel, which is code for, "Dude had been in the presence of the Lord." Much like Moses on the mountain with the Lord, Stephen spent his time with God. His character radiated with holiness from his time with the Lord. Remember the mudslinging that’s taking place...Stephen was being accused of heresy and being an apostate, but through this adversity we see his character fully exposed. Stephen could withstand hardship, because he was faithful to be with Lord.
Time with the Lord: Preference or Priority
A character of holiness is something not earned or manufactured, rather something fostered through spending time with our Creator. Unfortunately, time management is a struggle for the majority and investing time to develop our relationship with Jesus is an after thought. We allow time with Jesus to be a preference, rather than a priority; this is not a choice of a disciple. A disciple makes it a priority for time with Jesus because his affections are stirred by nothing else. A disciple says “Yes” to things that draw him to holiness and says “No” to things that bring temporal happiness. We must decide whether spending time with Jesus is a preference or priority, because it is one of the ways God develops our character.
Time with the Lord: Exposure to His voice
If you hang out on the beach in the middle of July for a couple hours, you are going to get burnt. Obviously, that’s not even up for debate. Exposure to anything always bears evidence. We are exposing our lives to the voice of God through spending time in His word. The Bible is the way we hear God’s voice. It’s how we know understand God’s character. It’s how we are trained in righteousness. It’s where your soul is revived. It’s where we can find wisdom. It’s how we can know the ultimate expression of love. As we expose our lives to the scriptures, there will be evidences of it. Our choices will be different. The complexion of our relationships will be drastically different, because our affections are stirred by honoring the Lord and not what benefits us. Exposure to God’s voice will foster our character, but more importantly we get to better know God. Our character being developed is the cherry on top.
Hardship will be a part of all our stories at some point in time and part of our sanctification. We don’t get to skip ahead or go around, we must go through it. Our character will be exposed through experiences, which is why exposure to the God’s voice is vital. As we face trials, they show where our dependence truly is. When we experience adversity, will others see we’ve have been with the Lord like Stephen?
Here are a couple action steps:
- Personal Evaluation. How are you spending your time? What do you need to say “No” to? Is your time with the Lord a priority or a preferences?
- Set Aside Time With Jesus.