"And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit." Acts 6:5
Stephen lived and died full of the Holy Spirit. This characterized how he moved throughout his life as a believer. This was his lifestyle choice and God used him!
Walking In the Spirit
What is it and what does it look like? It is simply living in obedience to God every day. Whatever God says in His Word that we should do, that's what we do each and every day of our lives.
Be Filled with the Spirit
The Holy Spirit has complete control over my thoughts, words and deeds (things I do). This happens simultaneously when we are walking in obedience to God.
We are commanded in scripture to walk in the Spirit and to be filled with the Spirit. This is something that we are to do. This is a direct command from God to every believer.
When we are obedient to what God asks of us, the Holy Spirit will be in control of all we say and do. The results will be seen and felt by all around us. Everyone who crosses our path will get a glimpse of God, learn something about Him and be either brought under the Spirit's conviction (unbeliever or believer), or encouraged to draw closer to God. The people we interact with will be influenced by our reactions and responses to situations (at work, school, at home and in the church).
The spiritual gift we've been given will be effective and God will see to it that more and more doors are opened to us where we can be used. we will bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit. Our life will be fruitful with fruit that is not only seen but identified for what it is.
We will be contented and fulfilled as a Christian because we'll be living out our God given purpose.
How will we know if we are walking in the Spirit and under the influence and complete control of the Holy Spirit? The evidence will show that there's no presence of the flesh. Our conversation will reflect what is pleasing to God. Our reaction and responses to everyday situations will be godly. What we spend time engaged in or listening to will be what God can honor and get glory from. These are the signs of one who is obedient to God (walking in the Spirit) and filled with the Spirit (under the Holy Spirit's control). When tempted to sin or to do the wrong thing, we will resist the urge to do what pleases us (our flesh) and do what is right instead.
With everything that God has done for us, this is our reasonable service (within reason seeing that Christ suffered and died for us). It's the least that we can do in return.
"Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16
"And do not be drunk with wine for this leads to debauchery (a gratifying of sensual pleasures that are physical, especially sexual), but instead be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18
We should strive to be like Stephen who lived and died being full of the Holy Spirit.
Who were you created to be? Who have you become?
Usually, when those questions are posed, our response goes right to what we do for a living. We talk about all we've accomplished, the money we make and the accolades etc.
Does your career determine who you are? Has your education defined you? Although you may have accomplished much in life and paid your dues with years of study, it only speaks to what you do, not who you are or have become.
Let me give a scenario that could be true to life. A nurse or a doctor received training in order to help to heal others physically. That same nurse or doctor goes home in the evening after a hard day's work and is verbally abusive to their family or disrespects their significant other. Who are they? A highly educated engineer who is highly recognized and written about cheats on his wife and takes trips with everyone but his wife. Who is he? These are examples of what people do for a living, but their behavior speaks to their character. Character is everything! Character speaks to who we really are.
Who are you when no one is looking? How we behave, the things we say, the things we talk about and the way we handle people is more of the truth to who we are. Our career or profession has nothing to do with our character or behavior.
When someone disrespects you, do you get revenge? Do you go and lie on them to others or try to ruin their reputation?
People rarely deal with their flaws or their negative behavior. If we won't accept responsibility for our actions, those same problems will always resurface over and over again and spill out into our relationships with others. It behooves us to stop and take inventory and give a long hard look at who we are or who we've become. Are you in relationships that last the test of time, or do they bite the dust one after the other?
Is it easier for you to gossip about others be it family members, colleagues, or friends? Have you tried to sit down with the person you are having a conflict with to hear things from their perspective as well as have them hear yours? Do you spend time taking into consideration that there may be factors other than your opinion as to why an individual has chosen to deal with you the way they have?
Life doesn't and will not get easier. As we become older, bad habits are harder to get rid of. These bad habits become engrained within us and almost never go away. Whatever we fail to correct and take responsibility for by age 40, will stay with us into older age. We lose out on valuable friendships, relationships, and healthy growth emotionally and psychologically. Let me give a disclaimer, I am not a psychologist or mental health professional. I only speak from what I consistently observed over many years now.
I have put in the hard work on myself, seeing that I was raised in a dysfunctional situation. I knew that I could not become like my parents with behavior that mirrored theirs. I had to make some hard decisions and choices in order to do better and to be the role model my children needed. By God's grace, I have been able to achieve that and more. No perfection is possible, just honest hard work on oneself does the trick. Taking into great consideration the Word of God and His standard for living has afforded me great blessings in my life.
So, I ask the question again. Who were you created to be? Who have you become?