6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” 15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.
There are things we believe that simply aren't true. One of those things is the idea that doing right or being faithful will produce success and a smooth path through life. I hear people often reasoning like this: "I prayed about it and everything lined up perfectly so it must be God's will."
Or: "I prayed about it and things just aren't working out so it must no be His plan for me."
Really? Imagine if Moses had the "pray then follow the path of least resistance" strategy. Have we forgotten we are in a war? Have we forgotten that in war the enemy concentrates his efforts where he feels most threatened?
Stephen turns out to be far more than a guy who can oversee the daily distribution of food. He is a force for God. His faithfulness does not produce success or a smooth path. Rather he gets increased resistance. A group of Jews resistant to Jesus make Stephen their target. This is nothing new. Daniel ended up in a den of lions for similar reasons. As Stephen became more and more filled with the Spirit of God, the target on his back got bigger and bigger.
Finally his enemies (enemies only because they were first enemies of Jesus) resorted to gathering men willing to lie about him so they could get him in trouble with the religious authorities while at the same time planting seeds of doubt about him in the minds of the people. Simply put they launched a campaign of slander.
You see the opposite is true. If we are cruising along without resistance and enjoying peace and popularity, chances are we not working for God. Chances are we are strategically playing politics and specializing in pleasing people rather than pleasing God.
Make no mistake. Jesus didn't run around trying to make enemies and neither did Stephen. Simply being faithful in a world largely hostile to Jesus is enough to create enemies.
Don't judge your choices based on the reactions of others or how little resistance it creates. Just be faithful and be prepared for resistance.
"They hated Me first and they will hate you also." - Jesus