I think it is probably true to say that there is a little stubbornness in us all. There is something within the human psyche that wants to be able to say that we are self-sufficient and not dependent upon the help of others. However, in the case of salvation and the forgiveness of our sins this is never the case. There are no exceptions to this rule. Stephen encounters a stubbornness in the elders and scribes that leads them to reject him and his message because of the threat it was to their lifestyle. Stephen is challenging the people that it is time they stopped resisting the Spirit of God and change the way they see their relationship with God. This is terribly threatening to the elders and scribes as their whole lives revolve around the fact that they are the ones who are mediating the word of God to the people.

The people stone Stephen to death with the approval of a young man named Saul (later to be known as Paul of Tarsus). The death of Stephen marks a qualitative turning pointy in the proclamation of the Gospel as the apostles would have realised that the opposition to the Gospel was going to be fierce and deadly. Yet this did not deter them in their mission. They went forward to proclaim the Gospel and continue the work of building the Kingdom of God. This is the sort of stubbornness that we need to develop – one that will refuse to be daunted by the possibility of suffering and even death, not the one that is obstructing the work of the Kingdom of God.

Each of us ought to examine our lives closely to see whether or not we are contributing to the spread of the Gospel or hindering it through our stubborn clinging to sin. The Holy Spirit cries out to us to be converted and surrender our lives to God. Will we do this or will we remain our old independent selves that are sometimes helpful but more often hindering the work of the Spirit? The choice is up to us; what will we do? Let us pray for the grace of God to break down our stubborn wills and conform them to His own.

What areas of my life exhibit stubbornness that needs to undergo conversion to the Spirit of God? How can I surrender this aspect of my life to God today?

Lord Jesus, help me to overcome everything that hinders the work of the Gospel in my life. I want to do your will without being a hindrance to your Holy Spirit.