“. . . I see the heavens opened up . . .” Acts 7:56
Words matter. They are the way we determine, describe and define our experiences of places and people. The one word to describe Stephen is winsome. The dictionary defines the word “winsome” as sweetly innocent, charming, winning, and engaging. He was first chosen by church leaders to serve the church because he was a man of faith. His winsomeness shown through his life.
But what made Stephen’s winsomeness more wondrous was when he was facing the hatred of the crowd, unfounded accusations, and imminent death by execution, he was winsome in the darkest moment of his life. Luke must have intended for the readers to take special note of Stephen’s character and ministry. It’s in his shortened time on this earth Stephen shows us how to be winsome under pressure.
Confident of the grace of God
Stephen stood strong knowing where sin increased, grace would reign through righteousness found in Jesus Christ over all situations. We must always affirm that God will work good in what we face because we love Him. We believe God knew what He was doing from the beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines of His Son. We need to battle in the presence of God and push through until we are comforted and confident that His grace has overcome our bitterness.
Communion with God
Stephen’s communion with God seemed to deepen as the viciousness of the opposition increased. When he was brought to trial, so close was his tie with God that his face shown like an angel. He was winsome indeed. Stephen had spoken uncompromising truth of God. Stephen was filled with the Spirit, saw Jesus and began crying out the same things that Jesus said at his death, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
We must develop the habits of winsomeness whenever we are attacked, by being confident of His grace and connected to communion with God’s presence. Then we will become gracious in the face of ungraciousness. We become winsome in the face of wickedness.
Practice walking in winsomeness today.