3 Lessons from the Life of Stephen



This is a very important lesson to learn from Stephen as it is one that human beings struggle with so very often. Beyond the benefits attached to forgiveness, it reflects the God in all men. A heart that can forgive is a heart that knows it has been forgiven, a heart that has known how much of God it houses.

Acts 6:60: “Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

This was the prayer Stephen said as he was being stoned to death. Right amid being put to death for the truth, his last prayers, much like that of Jesus on the cross, was that which absolved his killers of the effects of their transgressions, fulfilling what Jesus Christ said in Luke 6:27-28:

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

 We cannot say we have known Christ if we do not have space for grace and mercy. It is beyond being a regular church goer or someone who boasts of keeping most of the ten commandments or all. It isn’t just forgiving those we love or that have been good to us more times than not.

Matthew 5:43-45:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven”.

A heart that does not love all, has not known God, a heart that does not forgive, has not known love.

The greatest demonstration of love was that while we were deep in sin, not asking for forgiveness or even acknowledging our wrongs, God forgave us and came to die so that this could be revealed.


2. Learn to Speak the Truth

When Stephen was asked “Are these charges true?” in Acts 7, by the high priest, in relation to the claims he made about God, he gave them an even more detailed account of All that he had truly come to know God as, even though he knew he risked being put to death for it. He stuck to the truth irrespective of the outcome of it. Many a time, when faced with situations that threaten us or things we hold dear, we choose what seems to be the safer outcome as opposed to the right thing to do, even when they do not threaten to take our lives. One of the problems with this is that, when we resort to telling lies especially out of fear, we subtly insist to ourselves that we do not believe in whatever the truth is. The more you insist that telling lies yields better results, the more you desensitize yourself to the power of the truth.

3. Be Bold and Courageous

Another thing to note about Stephen was his boldness, it was because he was bold and had no fear that he could speak the truth without fear of consequence. More importantly to note was the fact that the boldness he had came from the knowledge that it was Christ who was the boldness and speaking in him/through him. That is why it was recorded that Stephen in Acts 7:55, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

He knew he was carried by the spirit of God, therefore he was bold to present himself and let the Holy spirit speak through him. It is easy to feel inadequate or full of fear if we depend on our own selves alone when faced with challenges of life, but when we yield to the spirit of God that we all so graciously carry and that we all truly are, we lose fear because we know that God cannot be defeated in any way.

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