“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,”
One of the most Christ-like actions ever recorded in the Scriptures is when Stephen was being stoned by those whom he was trying to reach with the Gospel. Certainly, Stephen had every right to respond in a spirit of anger, but instead he responded in the Spirit of God. It was how he responded that brought conviction to a young Saul, who himself was acting in hate and anger. If Stephen had responded in hate and anger, Saul would have been able to justify how he was acting, but because Stephen responded in another Spirit, his actions brought conviction to the heart of Saul which eventually resulted in his salvation.
How you react when others wrong you and attack you reveals the spirit to which you are yielding. If your life is going to have an impact on others, you are going to have to learn to act and respond in a spirit other than your own, and that Spirit I am talking about is the Holy Spirit. When you respond in the Spirit of God, you will find your life will turn your adversities and attacks into a tool God can use to bring others to Him. Five actions happen when you learn to respond in the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.
First, you will look to God and not focus on the attack. Stephen’s first response was to look up to Heaven. You will never respond properly to attacks when you focus on how the attacks are hurting you. You are going to have to look beyond the attacks and purposely focus on God if you are going to act in another Spirit.
Second, you will see the brokenness of man instead of the venom of the attacker. When you allow the Holy Spirit to control you, you will see that sin is what is breaking the person attacking you. If you remove the sin from the attacker’s life, you will find that person to be a good person. When sin was removed from Saul’s life, he became a great tool in God’s hand. Likewise, the person attacking you can be a tool in God’s hand once the sin is removed. Instead of focusing on the venom of the attack, ask God to help you to help fix the brokenness of the person who is attacking you.
Third, you will pray instead of reacting in anger. Stephen began to pray when the first stone hit him. Enduring attacks is never easy, but you will find that praying instead of reacting in anger will always help you to respond properly to the hurt that the attacker is hurling upon you.
Fourth, you will guard your spirit when you are acting in the Holy Spirit. Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” If you can keep your spirit from becoming bitter and hateful when you are attacked, you will keep your spirit from becoming hateful, judgmental and spiteful when you are around others. Many people are hard to get along with because they didn’t protect their spirit when they were hurt; thus, they are living in bitterness and anger even though they don’t see it themselves. Be very careful to guard your spirit when you are attacked so that you can continue to help others.
Fifth, you will forgive instead of looking for revenge. Stephen was more willing to forgive those killing him instead of asking God to judge them. Your response to those attacking you will reveal if you are acting in your spirit or the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is always the reaction when you are attacked if you are allowing the Holy Spirit to control you.