I made a small sign with a black marker and some white cardboard. I wrote in large bold letters “I ACCEPT”, and put it on the wall. It was during college that I had a personal revival of sorts and was filled with the Holy Spirit. This term, “filled” is from decades of perspective and life experience, at the time I wouldn’t have been able to say what happened.
I had been a believer from my earliest memories and was baptized in my early teens out of a sincere surrender and commitment to God. So, according to the word of God, I had the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Acts 2: 38; John 7: 38-39). At University I encountered a deeper level of relationship with the Holy Spirit. A crescendo of faith brought me to “accept” what I had believed – that every word of the Bible is true for me. The sign was a reminder, for example, that all my sin, past, present, and future was forgiven and that I had only to accept it as a free gift of God’s grace.
I began to find and accept more and more truth in the Bible as regarding Spiritual life, virtue, gifts of the Spirit and the nature and character of God. When scripture said to desire Spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, I accepted all that God was giving. I had no filter of skepticism, rationalization or scholarly argument why the words in my Bible did not mean what a plain reading of them said. There are many promises of God and they belong to all who believe enough to accept them.
Believing God is much deeper than mental ascent or a state of mind as to truth. It includes conviction, acceptance, commitment, appropriation, trust, confidence and associated action, stance, hope, assertion, confession and being. The disciple, Stephen, testified before the religious leaders of his belief and faith about Yeshua, for which he was martyred. He was obedient to his belief unto death. Stephen accepted both good and bad consequences as he followed the path of faith in God’s will. As he gave his Spirit inspired testimony, he received a heavenly vision, “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ ” (Acts 7: 55-56). What a marvelous gift of God’s grace and supernatural power. How many can say they have seen the Glory of God in Heaven and Yeshua standing beside God Almighty! Some wise men might advise that Stephen should have kept his visions to himself, just as they suggest that Joseph should have kept his dreams hidden. If God were to envelope you in a tingling vibrating love of his presence, you should just choke it down and keep it to yourself. No, respond to God saying, Yes, Lord have your way.
I believe the unjust stoning of Stephen and his reaction released such goodness from God that the entire world benefited. “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7: 59-60). Paul stood by consenting to his death, but the power of God released in this prayer of unconditional forgiveness later transformed Paul into the Apostle to the Gentiles and produced a demonstration of God’s transformative redeeming power, mercy, and lovingkindness. Good triumps over evil, light dispels darkness, and the truth will set you free – ACCEPT IT.