An Aspiration from the Acts Chapter 7

---By Joseph Wang

The most famous emperor (AD617-650) in Chinese Tang Dynasty once said: "One may correct his clothing by looking at a brass mirror, may know the rise and fall from the history as a mirror, and may understand gain and loss by learning from other as a mirror."

Indeed, history is a mirror. It tells us what was happening, when, where, how and why. History makes us wiser, not repeating the same mistake previously made, rather, taking a right move. It also shows us what and how each individual should walk. Moreover, societies as well as nations may be led to a right direction of a better, richer and stronger situation.

The Bible, the Book of books, and the Mirror of mirrors, is not only profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction (2Tim 3:16), but also enables us to know the living God and the truth, to discern light from darkness, righteousness from unrighteousness, true from false, good from evil, right from wrong, and so forth. It is indeed the treasury of knowledge, the principle of being a man, the meaning of life, the value of the eternal life.

In Acts 7, Stephen briefly told us about the history of Israel concerning the experiences of Abraham, Joseph and Moses, and pointed out that the people were unfaithful, unrighteous and disobeyed God to the uttermost by worshipping idols, and at last, killed the Righteous One --- the Lord Jesus, the Savior. His testimony was very strong, powerful and to the point, as smashing the rotten wood, and completed in one breath. It surely was very touching and much impressed. Before his death, Stephen, even like his Lord, prayed for his murderers. Oh, how great he was, so incredible.

Truly, truly, the Acts 7 is full of riches. Here I would like to share just one verse, i.e., verse 41. All idols are either through the imaginations or man-made of wood, mud, stone or metal, as images of certain persons, cattles or things, for the superstitious ones to blindly worship. God is extremely furious about such inexcusable behavior, yet the ones who made the idols are very glad and appreciate their own hand-work very much.

Many years ago, I had deeply devoted myself in my academic research works. Although in the reality those works were of no value at all, I considered every piece of them as masterpiece, and was extremely happy and very proud of them for a long time. Alas, these were my idols, my vain glory, and my pride. It was none other but Satan who worked inside of me, captured me and made me his slave. Thanks to God, with His mercy and grace He has rescued me from such terrible situation, and made me awake and sober.

Today in the church life, the same principle should be equally applied to the spiritual idols. May the Lord grant me such vision and preserve me with a determination --- by counting all things as loss, taking Christ as the most precious and valuable one, forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, running the race toward the Goal --- the Christ (Phil 3:8, 13-14; Heb 12:1-2). Amen.

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